Tuesday 17 September 2019

Gold and silver lining for rowers at all-Ireland championships

Success for St Kerns, Killurin and Edermine clubs at Cork event

David Looby

Rowers from three Co Wexford clubs competed in the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships in the National Rowing Centre in Cork with several medals won over the weekend.

Edermine Rowing Club secured silver and bronze in the U18 Boys traditional race, bronze in Men's Traditional and Bronze in Women's Traditional, while Killurin Rowing Club took silver in the U18 ladies Heritage race.

With 18 crews, four boats and 50 club members participating, the red and yellow of St. Kearns Rowing Club was rarely out of sight - on shore or on the water - and the effort was well rewarded with St Kearns taking gold in the U18 Girls Traditional, silver in the Men's Traditional and silver in the Women's Traditional.

Achieving this kind of success on a national stage requires a lot of effort from a lot of people and the St Kearns club members want to congratulate all the teams involved and pay tribute to the committee members for their dedication throughout the year.

Over the summer months, training sessions are held three evenings a week, with a significant amount of organising, coordination and maintenance of boats and equipment also required. Club spokesperson Martina Chapman said. 'A special mention must go to St Kearns Rowing Club Chairman Peter Mullan who has worked tirelessly at all levels to get the club to where is it now. He coxes and coaches both children and adult crews and is hugely popular with rowers of all ages and abilities.'

Ellie Mason, a gold medal winner at All-Ireland level in two different rowing classes, said: 'Pete is the voice in your head that says you can do it, even when you think that you can't.'

St Kearns Rowing Club is also supported by a wide network of volunteers. Peter said: 'We have a great committee who work hard and we also get so much valuable support from club members and volunteers who are on hand throughout the training season to help out. Some of them, like Ray Codd and Lesley Warner, don't even go out in the boats and as a club we are incredibly grateful to them all for their support.'

A significant amount of fundraising for the club has taken place over the last 18 months including tables quizzes, bingo, cycles, tractor runs, a community dinner, a Christmas jumper run and a race night.

The club would like to thank all of the local people who have supported them including the Saltmills and St Kearns Community Group with whom St Kearns Rowing Club has jointly run a number of fundraising events and secured funding from the towns and villages renewal scheme.

As a result the club has been able to purchase of two new boats, two new sets of oars, two trailers and two dolly trailers and upgrade the pontoon in St Kearns.

The type of boat mostly used by St Kearns is a 'Slaney Cot' - a traditional wooden boat unique to this part of the world. Only a handful of rowing clubs use this type of boat including Killurin, Edermine and Ferrycarrig - which makes for tight competition but great camaraderie between the clubs at the regattas throughout the summer and it's not unusual for clubs to share boats, crews or coxes when the need arises - as happened at the championships.

This sense of community is reflected in St Kearns Rowing Club itself and members describe it as being very inclusive with people of all ages and from all walks of life involved, including whole families.

'New members are surprised at how quickly they feel part of the club - irrespective of their experience or fitness - and bonding as part of a team working and training together. With around 80 members, half of whom are under 16, St Kearns is a community of interest, rather than geography with members drawn from across traditional sporting boundaries including Fethard-on-sea, Saltmills, Tintern, Ballycullane, Clongeen, Horeswood, Ballykelly, Newbawn, Foulksmills and Arthurstown.

'St. Kearns is about more than competitive rowing and has a strong tradition in leisure rowing. If you happen to be walking around Tintern Abbey on a Sunday morning you might even see them rowing up the river under the bridge for a coffee and a bun in the Tintern café.'

The club is also well represented at the longer rows and races such as The Barrow Challenge, The Great River Row in London, The Ocean to City Row in Cork, and the Killurin long row.

A particularly special event for the club was the memorial moonlight row which took place in May in memory of well-loved club members Eppie Frost and Brendan Lavery.

New Ross Standard