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NUIG there to be sunk in Cork oar wars

Defending champions NUI Galway lead the entry for the men's senior eights at this weekend's Irish Rowing Championships at Farran Wood Inniscarra Lake, Cork, starting tomorrow.

For the first time, the championships is split between two weekends, with the eights and fours racing this weekend and the singles, doubles and quads in September.

Also taking place this weekend are sculling and quad events for under-14, 15 and 16 rowers.

Crews from Queen's Belfast, Muckross, Killarney, St Michael's and Limerick, as well as a UCD/Commercial composite squad, have entered the men's senior eights -- which, as the blue riband event of the sport, will close the regatta on Saturday afternoon.

Included in the composite crew are the UCD four who won at Henley a few weeks ago, along with Olympian Sean Jacob and Commercial's trio of Colm Dowling, Dan Murphy and Frank Folan.

Despite a crew that includes Beijing Olympian Cormac Folan along with Alan Martin and James Wall, NUI Galway have looked vulnerable this season. At the Metro Regatta last month in Blessington, they lost to Muckross.


Also in good from are Queen's University, close runners-up to NUIG last year. Not only are they unbeaten in Ireland this season, they also won the British University Championship.

An intriguing entry in the women's senior eights is a composite crew consisting of top-class single scullers from seven clubs, most of them Munster based.

The senior fours has a similar line-up to the eights with the addition of Cork BC and a Commercial/ Skibbereen composite. NUI Galway are reigning champions although Commercial have beaten them this year, while UCD are still on a high after their win at Henley.

There is a massive entry for Junior under-14, 15 and 16 boys and girls races, with 32 scullers signed up for the boys under-16 race alone.

At the World Cup Regatta at Lucerne, Switzerland, Siobhán Mc- Crohan from Galway finished sixth in the women's lightweight single sculls.

It was a second World Cup final this season for McCrohan, who made the lightweight doubles final at Bled last May with Claire Lambe.

A new-look Irish men's quad of Niall Kenny, Michael Maher, Mark O'Donovan and Justin Ryan also finished sixth after coming though the repechage to make the final.