Ireland had an exciting start to the day at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Racice, Czech Republic today (Friday) with a second boat qualifying for tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Fermoy oarswomen Gill McGirr and Ellie O’Reilly were given another chance to secure a semi-final place in the junior women’s pair category after coming fourth in their heat yesterday and they seized the opportunity, bow on.
The pair took to the water for their repechage against France, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia in a five-boat race that would see the first three boats qualify.
Slovenia took an early lead but stalled in what were choppy conditions after 500m, allowing France to move ahead into first place. Hungary followed suit and Ireland moved up from fourth to third position, passing the Slovenian crew and leaving open water behind them to secure the third qualifying place ahead of Slovenia and Serbia. The Irish JW2- will compete in the A/B semi-final tomorrow morning, Saturday.
Next up for Ireland was the junior men’s quad who had also placed fourth in their heat yesterday. The boat, stroked by Carlow’s Jack Keating, with Shandon crewmates Jack Dorney, Alex Byrne and Luke Hayes-Nally faced a six boat repechage in which only the top two boats would qualify for the A/B semi-final.
The boys pushed off the start impressively moving straight into third place, a position they held throughout the remainder of the race, with Chile taking the lead at 1,000m and Denmark following close behind. Denmark soon challenged to move into the lead and made waves by setting a new world junior record in the category with a finishing time of 05:52.450. The previous world best time which had been held for the last six years was 05.52.96. The Irish boat just failed to catch the Chilean crew and missed out on qualifying for the A/B semi-final by 2 seconds. They will race again in the C/D semi-finals tomorrow morning (Saturday).
The final race of the morning for Ireland was another incredibly tight battle that saw the junior women’s double scull of Workmen’s oarswomen, Ciara Moynihan and Ciara Browne, row fiercely down the 2,000 metre course.
The Irish double raced in a tightly packed field against GB, Japan and Austria, vying with the three other boats for a qualifying place. Austria took the lead up to the 500m mark before being challenged by Japan who were later overtaken by GB. With less than a length separating all four boats, Ireland moved up into third place and began to overlap with Japan, challenging for a qualifying spot. A strong sprint for the finish saw the Irish boat motor through the last 200m, rating at 37 strokes per minute only to be pipped at the line by Japan who finished less than one second ahead of the Irish boat. The Irish JW2x will race again tomorrow morning in the C/D semi-final.
Tomorrow, Saturday will see Ireland compete in two A/B semi-finals (JM4+ and JW2-) and two C/D semi-finals (JM4x and JW2x). Exact race times will be available on the Rowing Ireland website later today.
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