EIGHT junior men and a junior woman from Offaly Rowing club, together with coach Frank Durkin and a number of parents travelled to Ghent to race in the Sport Ghent International May Regatta to race against the best in northern Europe.
The junior mens squad consisted of Anthony Gannon, Mantas Pukelis, James Houlihan, John Neale, Maurice Harnett, Cathal Phelan, Patrick Grogan and Patrick Walsh with Claire Mangan representing Offaly Rowing Club junior women. Other countries competing at the regatta included Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
Offaly Rowing Club crews competing on the first day of competition, namely Saturday, included a junior mens quadruple scull, junior mens and junior women single sculls and a mens junior double and a womens junior eight composite crew with Methodist College, Belfast. In the junior womens sweep oar 8 Claire Mangan of Offaly Rowing Club along with fellow crew members from Methodist College Belfast Rowing Club were behind Cork Boat Club taking second place. Claire also competed up a category in the junior womens single scull and finished 34th.
The mens junior quadruple scull of Cathal Phelan, John Neale, Mantas Pukelis and James Houlihan were placed sixth in a field of 29. Four of the five crews ahead of them were composites of more than one club, including two from the French national team. In the mens junior 18 single scull a total of 83 competitors participated in the race. The best of the Irish was Anthony Gannon from Offaly Rowing Club who finished 10th ahead of fellow club members Cathal Phelan (12th), Maurice Harnett (21st), Patrick Walsh (64th), Patrick Grogan (72nd) and John Neale (78th). In the mens junior 18 double scull two crews represented Offaly Rowing Club Mantas Pukelis and James Houlihan finishing 20th ahead of Patrick Grogan and Patrick Walsh.
On Sunday the wind conditions had improved with a lighter headwind travelling up the course from the finish to the start. Claire Mangan from Offaly Rowing Club had continued success in the junior womens sweep oar 8 with Methodist College Belfast Rowing Club finishing in second place. She also raced with Methodist College Belfast in a junior womens quadruple scull.
Offaly Rowing Club junior men were represented in the junior 18 quadruple and single scull, junior 16 double and single scull. John Neale, Anthony Gannon, Mantas Pukelis and James Houlihan represented Offaly Rowing Club in the junior 18 quadruple scull finishing 8th of 17 crews and the best of the irish. In the junior 18 single scull Mantas Pukelis finished 6th of 46 scullers that raced, followed in by Anthony Gannon (15th), James Houlihan (19th) and Maurice Harnett (27th). John Neale and Maurice Harnett also competed in the mens junior 18 double scull finishing 26th of 35.
Competing for Offaly Rowing Club in the mens junior 16 single scull were Cathal Phelan, Patrick Grogan and Patrick Walsh. In a field of 58 competitors from Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Tunisia and Ireland the Offaly rowers finished in 8th, 30th and 44th respectively. In the mens junior 16 single scull Patrick Grogan and Cathal Phelan put in a great performance to finish in 9th in a field of 42 crews beating fellow irish men from Cork Boat Club by two seconds.