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Rowing: Irish crews rally to go on hot streak in regatta

After an uncertain start, Irish club and student crews making the long journey to Henley rallied to a winning streak at yesterday's opening day of the most famous regatta in the world.

As the curtain rose on Henley so did the temperatures. For the first time since the heatwave of 1976, gentlemen were permitted to remove their jackets within the hallowed confines of the Stewards' Enclosure, the most prestigious area of the regatta.

In the first round of the student eights, Trinity College Dublin, despite notable wins at Gent and Marlow earlier this season, went out at the hands of the Americans from Bates College by three lengths.

Less than an hour later, a similar fate befell the Commercial crew against Sydney, Australia, in the club coxless fours.

The Dublin men included Colm Dowling and Michael Maher from last year's line-up, but the Australians were boating two U-23 internationals, and took a verdict of more than two lengths.

However, Fermoy had rather better luck when they notched up a victory against the local men from Reading in the club coxed fours.

Reading led off the start but a tenacious approach from the Corkmen saw them claw back the advantage and go on to take victory.

Weight and experience are powerful factors in rowing, so when Eton gave away more than two stones a man to UCD in the student eights the heavier crew seized the advantage.

It was a similar story when Commercial defeated the schoolboys from Abingdon by almost three lengths.

Within half an hour, as the evening shadows lengthened, Galway's club eight disposed of Mortlake Anglian by five lengths, and the UCD second crew put out Shrewsbury School by just a canvas.

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Seven more events get under way today including the Diamond Sculls for men, which features NUIG's Dave Mannion, and the Visitors' Cup for coxless fours which includes Beijing Olympian Cormac Folan with former NUIG team-mates James Wall, Paul Giblin and Alan Martin


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