Donegal are all set to host All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships which will be held at the Lakeside Centre, Ballyshannon from Friday to Sunday.
On Friday 12th and for the following two days 45 clubs representing over 500 crews will descend on the Lakeside Centre in Ballyshannon where Donegal Bay Rowing Club will be acting as hosts to this spectacular event. In all there will be 2,000 rowers taking part over the three days.
It is something of a coup for Donegal and especially the Donegal Bay Rowing Club, to be hosting the event, which will bring a big influx of visitors to the area.
Chairman of the Donegal Bay Rowing Club, Seamus Maguire, has been a busy man in recent weeks. “There has been an upsurge in rowing in Donegal since 2009. We attended the All-Irelands last year in Waterville and it is great for our club to be hosting the All-Ireland the finals this year,” said Seamus, who acknowledged the help the club has received from other clubs in the county and Micheal Curran, chairman of the Donegal Rowing Association. He also emphasised that entry to the competition in Ballyshannon over the three days is free.
Nearly every maritime county will be represented. In tandem with the programme in Ballyshannon, the Events Against Suicide committee along with the rowing club in Donegal Town, will host the first Donegal Bay Maritime festival with loads of free attractions for all, and in particular a very family oriented few days will be the overriding theme.
Donegal waterbus will be operational throughout the festival with street theatre, parade of boats, Interfirms regatta, and a host of water events being showcased.
At the competitive end, Donegal rowing club have entered 12 crews across a number of categories for the championship in Ballyshannon.
On Friday 12th August, the Heritage races will see 14 Donegal skiffs on the startline for the first time in the competition's history. Michael Curran, Chairperson of the Donegal Coastal Rowing Association, will be on hand to provide master of ceremony duties for this historic race
TWELVE DONEGAL CLUBS
Twelve associated Donegal clubs will be represented at the startline: Donegal Bay, Loughros Point, The Village, Inver, Killybegs, Mountcharles, Bruckless, CCF and Teelin with two crews from some clubs. Donegal Bay rowers, Paddy McGlynn, Heather McWhinnie, Marcus Burke and Peader Conroy, will join other club rowers to compete for medals on Friday.
The youngest Donegal Bay crew in the under 14 category, who have to row an 800 metre race, comprises Louise Connolly, Nora Carr, Alley McClay, and Onagh McHugh. The club also has one crew who will be participating as a unit for the fourth consecutive year in an All Ireland. Composed of Dawn Wray, Beibhinn Naughton, Hannah McHugh and Ginta Berga, this crew will be bringing all their experience to bear on a number of races throughout the regatta.
The men are well represented in what is the greatest endurance event in the programme - a 2.3kilometre multi turn race lasting over 11 minutes. This crew is stroked by Jack Sweeney, and backed up by Jimmy Meehan, Darren Moy, and Morgan Nolan. Alma McClay, Deborah Bonner, Sharon Meehan, Karen Boyle and Pam Gavigan will fly the flag for the ladies event and will also be represented in the mixed races.
The majority of the races are 1500 metres long and with the start / finish line in front of the enclosure great views will be available to spectators on the shore line. There will also be a live video feed on Sunday finals day, ensuring none of the action will be missed.
Above all, this free event will be a great opportunity to see some of the greatest exponents of coastal rowing displaying their abilities in a beautiful setting at the Lakeside Centre in Ballyshannon - come along and enjoy the spectacle.
Donegal Bay Rowing Club would like to express its sincere gratitude to the local business both big and small who have supported them in taking this massive event to Donegal. We sincerely hope that the programme of events in Donegal Town and the Championship regatta in Ballyshannon, will enable the clubs with their families and supporters who are coming, to enjoy their time in our beautiful county.
We also wish to express our appreciation and thanks to all the volunteers who have given so much of their personal time in ensuring the regatta at the Lakeside Centre, and the Maritime Festival in Donegal Town, are a massive success - fingers crossed now for the weather!. Please come along to this free entry event and bring your Donegal flags