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Shock and oar as rowers triumph

The Arklow Ladies Rowing Team starting the Celtic Challenge from the coast on Arklow's south beach. Garry O'Neill

AFTER 25 hours' battling wind and rain, an Irish women's team triumphed in a rowing contest across the Irish Sea yesterday.

Sheer grit and determination ensured victory for the Arklow Ladies Rowing Team in this year's Celtic Challenge against other all-female rowing teams.

After their gruelling trek across the Irish Sea, it was straight to bed for the rowers in preparation for a celebration of their win at Aberystwyth Rowing Club this afternoon. Their crossing back over the Irish Sea will be a much less tiring affair, with team members making their way home by ferry.

The 12-strong team survived the most difficult conditions ever experienced in the 90-mile race from Arklow to Aberystwyth in Wales. It was their third triumph in the event, which takes place every two years.

Jimmy Tyrrell, organiser of the Celtic Challenge, described the women's effort as "Olympic" yesterday, after 10 of the 22 teams taking part dropped out as a result of the difficult conditions.

"The weather was against them. There was a north easterly wind, and on the Irish Sea that is always uncomfortable. They were rowing into the wind the entire way over. It is a feat of Olympic proportions, especially when you consider that they are all amateurs," he said.

Irish Independent