TWO members of Offaly Rowing Club were invited to Newry last weekend for the second round of trials for the national team. Adam O’Donohue was entered as a lightweight man, and Cathal Phelan as a junior.
There are four rounds of trials, which will be used to select rowers to attempt qualification for the Olympics and to race in the World Championships and the Coupe de la Jeunesse, a competition between 12 European countries.
The trials start with a test on a rowing machine, where each rower must meet a cut off score for his category, and show improvement on the last trial.
Adam, as a lightweight, needed to make a target weight on both days. He has had to focus his training on this for the past fortnight, and his strength suffered as a result. His time was slower than in the first trial, and he didn’t make the cut off time for his category.
Cathal had a scare in this part last time out, but was well prepared and made his time, improving by about 5 seconds on last time.
The second part of the trial is a 5 kilometre time trial on the Newry Ship canal.
Cathal, as the second fastest junior rower in the first trial, led off his category. He raced strongly and consistently over the course, and his time of 21:03.7 put him fifth overall, in a very tight bunch of six rowers who were within 4 seconds of each other.
The fastest sculler, Andrew Griffen, from Neptune in Dublin was 20 seconds ahead. Missing from the competition was the outstanding junior of the past decade, Paul O’Donovan of Skibbereen. = This result puts Cathal in an excellent position to pursue his rowing and sculling ambitions this season and next.
Also racing at the weekend were David Neale, now with UCD, and Sean O’Connor, with NUI Galway. David had the highest score on the rowing machine on Saturday, while Sean had a very respectable result. Sean finished eight and David ninth in the senior section, about a minute behind the fastest lightweights.
The next trial will be held in April and the final assessment in June.