The final round of the 2014 Grand League regatta series takes place this weekend at the National Rowing Centre in Farran Wood, Co. Cork. 600 crews, and over 2000 competitors are set to participate in Cork Regatta, the last major regatta of 2014. The regatta will be a good indicator of form ahead of the Irish Rowing Championships, the pinnacle of the national rowing season, which will take place at the same venue in three weeks time, from 11-13 July.
The Grand League is an integral part of the Irish regatta season, and has grown in popularity ever since its introduction in 2010. The 2014 league is spread over three regattas: Skibbereen Regatta in April, Dublin Metropolitan Regatta in May and Cork Regatta in June.
The league offers an added incentive for clubs to take part in each event, offering the usual regatta format, with competitors competing in their individual events. The clubs are allocated points according to their placing in every event from Junior 16 to Senior level. It allows all club members: juniors, novices and elite rowers alike, the chance to race and earn points for their club in the process. League tables are drawn up in five categories: Overall, Men’s Division 1, Women’s Division 1, Men’s Division 2 and Women’s Division 2. At the end of the regatta series, the winners of each category are awarded prizes.
Skibbereen Rowing Club dominated the 2013 Grand League, winning four out of the five categories, with Lee Rowing Club winning the Men’s Division Two Category.
In the 2014 League, Skibbereen are still leading the overall points table, along with the Women’s Division One category. Lee Rowing Club lead the Men’s and Women’s Division Two categories, and Carlow Rowing Club are the current Men’s Division One leaders.
However, with a packed two days of racing set to take place at Cork Regatta this weekend, all these positions could change before the winners are finalised. With a Concept 2 rowing machine up for grabs for the overall winner, and a set of Croker sculling blades for the other category leaders, the league has been hotly contested this year, with the lead changing between clubs throughout the league. The winners will not be decided until after the last race on Sunday 22nd June.
Rowing Ireland is grateful for the ongoing support of Tony Dooley Croker oars for the 2014 Grand League.