Published 20/08/2014 | 05:36
ALL roads led to Waterville at the weekend as the South Kerry town hosted the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships with aplomb.
While local businesses reaped the rewards, thanks to over 10,000 rowing fans and visitors visiting the area, it was a job well done for the local rowing fraternity too.
Over 20 coastal rowing clubs from Kerry were involved in the mammoth task of organising a top-class programme of rowing and entertainment during the three day event.
Based at Lough Currane, the sun shone but the venue didn't escape the stiff breezes coming in from The Atlantic; but it made for great action shots for photographers and entertaining viewing for the thousands of spectators who lines the scenic lake.
More than 2,700 rowers competed and 530 crews raced for the prestigious silverware on offer and the honour of being an All-Ireland winner.
Joining the Kerry rowers were crews from Donegal, Antrim, Belfast, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford and Cork, all competing in the 'One Design' fibreglass boats which have fixed seats for crews of four and a cox. That's apart from the traditional Seine boats which turned out in style to put on an exhibition for all gathered.
The course was designed by Nick Norris of Schull who is a great friend of Waterville Rowing Club and overseeing the course was Kerry Coastal Chairman Pat Cuffe along with volunteer Andrew Wharton. Both men went above and beyond the call of duty and could be seen cutting branches, fixing engines, making tea and even cleaning up the rubbish.
Waterville Rowing Club's Noel Clifford and the entire team was also on hand to help out throughout the weekend, as was event PRO Mary B Teahan who said that every community in South and Mid Kerry was completely behind the event.
"The organisation was enormous, and thankfully it ran very smoothly - what we witnessed in Waterville was a wonderful weekend of rowing, the atmosphere was amazing, the fun and camaraderie incredible," the Cromane woman said afterwards.
"Medals were hard to come by, every crew gave it their all which was great as we've been working on the event for a year, so all the hard work definitely paid off.