The clubs six championship and seven county medals were complimented with a fine string of performances from the Kilmac rowers at the All-Ireland event.
Before “The Rocket III” even took to the water on Saturday morning there was success for the Kilmacs as club member Aoife O’Riordan won a silver medal rowing in the FISA race which was part of the opening ceremony on Friday evening, a great start to a great weekend.
Saturday was for the most part, a day of qualifying heats, with 10 out of 13 Kilmacabea teams getting through to the finals on Sunday.
Every team gave their all in their respective races and did the club proud as they fought tooth and nail to make the finals.
The teams who only just missed out on making it through were the U16s, Intermediate men and mixed veterans.
It went to the wire in all three races as the Kilmacs never gave up in these very competitive divisions but were just that bit unlucky on the day not to seal qualification. The U16s were Euan Tobin, Shane Collins, Caelan O’Mahony and Eoin (Ring RC), the Intermediate men: Donal Williamson, Donal O’Donovan, Sean O’Donovan and Declan Whooley and the mixed veterans, Axel Kinderman, J.J O’Brien, Mary O’Sullivan and Lucy O’Brien.
The U21 ladies was the only final on Saturday for Kilmacabea and it proved to be a heart stopper as the team of Jennifer O’Callaghan, Aoife O’Riordan, Fiona O’Callaghan and Lisa Cronin pushed for a medal all the way to the finish line.
The girls caused a shock among the clubs supporters and indeed the opposing teams after coming together a mere week before the All-Ireland finals and almost clinching a medal. After rounding the buoy in joint first place the girls lacked that little bit of extra fitness to finish out the race in style and fell back to a very close fourth place but did the club proud nonetheless as they displayed the quality of the rowers produced at Kilmacabea RC.
Sunday was the clubs big day as there were nine finals on the agenda with All-Ireland promise in all of them.
The veteran men were first to take to the beautiful rowing conditions at Broadstrand and were immediately followed by the veteran women. Both teams arguably put in their best performances of the season and finished out their races in style, with half the rowers in either boat only new to the club this year the two teams showed great promise and marked a major milestone by competing in their first All-Ireland. Well done to Axel Kinderman, John O’Donovan, Ger O’Sullivan, J.J O’Brien, Jennifer Calnan, Lucy O’Brien, Mary O’Sullivan and Marian McCarthy.
The clubs next two races illustrated the strength of the underage rowers of the club as the U12s and U14s took part in what are proving to be two very competitive categories year after year.
Both teams had a top five finish and in what is becoming a familiar sight in these divisions the top six boats crossed the line within two lengths of each other showing that maybe on any other day it would have meant medals for the young lads from Leap.
The U12s on the day were Mikey O’Mahony, Dara Tobin, Peter Collins and Adrian Gore and the U14s were Timmy O’Donovan, Ashley Deane, Caelan O’Mahony and David O’Connor.
Next up for the club were the possible dark horses of the day as the U21s only had one other chance all year to prove themselves taking silver in the county final. However on this occasion the boys were fitter and stronger and pulled a stormer of a race, winning in tremendous style 7 lengths clear of their next nearest competitors. The team of Andrew O’Sullivan, Liam Cronin, Kieran O’Sullivan, Joseph O’Callaghan and Carmel Connolly (cox) lead from start to finish increasing their advantage on every turn of this long multi-turn race and finishing impressively with one of the best times of the day.
Congratulations are due to the team who worked tirelessly all year with this day and the gold medal in mind.
The clubs next three races came in quick succession as the U14 ladies, U16 ladies and U18s competed one after the other, and like the underage earlier in the day, represented the club well on the water.
Again stiff competition meant that the top six or seven boats crossed the line within a couple of lengths of each other and again on any other occasion it could have been Kilmacabea’s day.
Alas it was not meant to be with all three teams coming very close but finishing just outside the medals. The teams were: U14 ladies; Rachel O’Callaghan, Kirsty Hayes, Niamh Burns and Shannon Ronan, U16 ladies; Abby Hourihan, Georgina Deane, Kellie Kregan and Vicki O’Brien, U18; Kieran O’Sullivan, Liam Thompson, Pat Calnan and Alex Nowotynski.
Last up were the junior men and for three quarters of the team it was race number two of the day. The young team of Andrew O’Sullivan, Liam Cronin, Eoin Flavin, Joseph O’Callaghan and Mary O’Sullivan joked about winning an All-Ireland medal in this tough category at the start of the year but after a summer of hard training and impressive performances they very nearly made their dream a reality as they gave their best performance of the season to cross the line in a photo finish for the bronze medal.
Unfortunately luck wasn’t on their side this time but the lads got out of the boat in high spirits because unlike many of the men’s crews they competed with, age is on their side and it looks like there are many senior medals to come from this batch of Kilmacabea rowers.
A big congratulations and thank you are due to everyone who made this weekend a success, the club captain Diarmuid O’Sullivan, those who helped with the boat, the refreshment providers, those who transported and looked after equipment, the supporters, the coxes and trainers especially Joseph O’Callaghan who was involved in every race for the Kilmacs at the weekend and the rowers and their parents.
Everyone played their part and we hope that with your continued support the club will follow up the 2012 season with another impressive campaign in 2013.