National intermediate champion Daire Lynch with coach Pat Kinsella.
Clonmel Rowing Club had a very successful three days at the National Championships at the national rowing centre at Farran Wood.
The first big event was on Friday morning, the junior men’s single scull Championship of which there we over forty entries. In this event Clonmel entered Dylan Barry O’Donovan, Sean O’Donnell, Andrew Butler and Matt Dundon.
This was Andrew and Matt’s last chance at Junior so they were the club’s big guns. In the heats of which two would qualify, Sean had an off day and came fourth. Dylan was just pipped into third in his heat. Andrew and Matt came through their heats and progressed to the semi-final.
Unfortunately Matt and Andrew were drawn in the same semi-final. The lads had the toughest semi and Andrew came third and Matt fourth. .
On Friday afternoon Daire Lynch raced in the Men’s senior scull.
Daire Lynch, Niall Lynch, Matt Dundon and Kevin Dundon after Clonmel's win in the men’s intermediate double scull championship.
Daire’s main aim was to get to the final and get in much needed racing for his main event, the Men’s Intermediate scull which he would race on the Saturday. Daire blazed off the start at a rate of 40 strokes per minute and positioned himself at the front of the field.
He rowed a good plan and won his heat. His win progressed him into the final where he would face Paul O’Donovan, the Olympic silver medallist and Lightweight world Champion.
Paul has been in great form this year and Daire has just completed his Leaving Cert and missed out on lots of mileage on the water.
So realistically we were racing to be as close to Paul as possible. In the final Paul racing for Skibereen set a new course record and Daire finished second with the rest of the field some way behind him.
On Saturday Clonmel were racing in the Junior Men’s quad scull Championship. They had gone to Henley regatta at the end of June to prepare for this championship event and they felt that we could win.
Bronze medals in the JM4X - Matt Dundon, Andrew Butler, Sean O’Donnell and Dylan Barry O’Donovan.
The other main contenders were Three Castles from Blessington and Carlow. In our heat they qualified behind Carlow who won our heat. In the final they were drawn in lane 1.
However the winds picked up and the day's racing was cancelled. The race was postponed until the Sunday morning at 7am.
Off the start Carlow took a slight lead and extended that further so that at the halfway mark they led the field by nearly a length with Three Castles second, Shandon third and Clonmel fourth.
Like at Henley regatta Clonmel then began a comeback. At about the 1500 meter mark Carlow seemed to run out of gas and now Clonmel, Three Castles and Shandon were fighting for the gold medal. Coming into the finish Three Castles made a spurt and won by ½ length from Shandon with Clonmel one foot behind them.
In the Intermediate scull Daire Lynch retained the title won last year. In his heat he took charge right from the start and cruised home to win.
Bronze medal in the JM2X - Matt Dundon and Andrew Butler.
In the final Daire was drawn in lane 4 with the fancied Saint Michaels sculler in lane 3. Daire took control right at the start and at the halfway mark was over two seconds ahead of the Saint Michaels sculler and powered on from there to an impressive Championship win by nearly 6 seconds.
In the junior men’s double scull championship event Clonmel had Andrew Butler and Matt Dundon. They qualified from the heat into the semi-final where they finished third and into the final.
In the final they had the fancied Three Castles crew who were the form crew this year. They were third at the half way mark and even though they had a powerful run in to the finish finishing third for the bronze medal.
In the Men’s Club coxed four Clonmel had to substitute their stroke man because of the rescheduled time table from the Saturday weather cancellations. This is a tough event for them and they were just pipped in the heat for a qualifying place and progressed no further.
In the Junior Women’s quad scull Daire Davern, Kate Cocoran, Laura Noonan and Emily Maunsell came second in their heat and progressed to the final where they gave it everything and finished fourth behind the winners Lee, Workman’s and New Ross.
The final Championship event was the Intermediate men’s double scull with Daire Lynch and Matt Dundon.
In the heat they rowed a good race and finished first. After analysing the race the club captain took aside the crew and told them that they had been the fastest crew to the half way mark in the heats and that the final was there for the lads to win.
In the final Daire and Matt went for right from the start and at the after the first 500 meters went for another push and open up a one length lead. From the halfway mark to the finish the lads just kept piling the pressure on and won the race beating UCC and Skibbereen by over eleven seconds. This was a fantastic achievement given that this race was Matt’s sixth race on the Sunday.
In the non-championship events, the women’s Junior 15 sculler Emily Fitzpatrick won her race. Master Sculler Oisin McGrath came second in the C class event.
Sympathy to the Flood family after the sad passing of Frank Flood who was a committed club man when things were tough in the 1980s. He had a massive influence on many of the oars people that passed through the club in the 70s 80s and 1990s. We have many fond memories of Frank.