Rowing: McElroy looks for U-23s to float his boat
Nine of Ireland's development athletes this week have made the long trip to Belarus, where the World U-23 Rowing Championships get under way today in the city of Brest.
The regatta is a significant milestone in the development of the young squad, which High Performance Director Martin McElroy is hoping will form the foundation of Ireland's Olympians in 2016 and beyond.
There have been some fine performances so far this season, with the U-23 rowers pitted against senior opposition at World Cup regattas in Slovenia and Switzerland.
The best of these was Claire Lambe and Sarah Dolan, who burst through the competition back in May to secure an 'A' final place in Bled in the lightweight women's doubles.
But they will not be complacent about their chances against the younger opposition in Belarus -- the field is littered with far more experienced athletes who are sure to create problems for the newcomers.
Also earning herself a place at the regatta is former Junior international Lisa Dilleen, who put on such a brave performance at last year's Junior Championships in France, where she and Laura d'Urso just missed out on a medal in the women's doubles.
In Belarus, Dilleen will race the single against the likes of Lindsay Meyer, the US athlete who competed in the quad at the Beijing Olympics.
The third Irish crew in Belarus is the lightweight men's quad, which includes Niall Kenny, Michael Maher, Mark O'Donovan and Justin Ryan.
Ireland's line-up is completed by Peter Hanily and Anthony English in the lightweight men's pair.