Today was the final day of racing in Paris after the changes to the schedule due to the wet and windy weather conditions. All three of the Irish crews were starting the day facing into the A/B semi finals and then to compete again later on in the day for the finals.
Ayla O’Neill (Kenmare RC) and Kate Reidy (Lee RC) were up first in the junior women’s double and what an exciting race this was. They were off to a great start and sitting up in the top three boats for the entirety of the race alongside Greece and Italy. They came fighting hard in the sprint finish and finished in second position by 0.01 seconds behind Greece to make it into the A final.
Shane Rafferty (St Michaels RC) and Zach Meegan (Athlone BC) were up next in their A/B semi. They began the race with a battle between third and fourth place with Portugal for a position in the A final behind Switzerland and Germany. This was only the beginning for the junior men’s double as they began to take off in the last 1000 meters and had another very close second place finish behind the Swiss crew to make it into the A final.
The last semi-finals of the day from the Irish Crews was Lee Valley’s Holly Davis in the junior women’s single. Holly yet again showed everyone what a fantastic rower she is and there was no holding her back from the start. She finished with a clear water win over the Uruguayan sculler and is going into the A final with the second fastest time from the semis.
With all three of the Irish crews making it into the A finals, the race for medals was on for the crews.
O’Neill and Reidy narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing in fourth place in their final behind Italy. It was a brilliant race from the girls and they showed great strength and perseverance in all of their racing over the last few days. Huge congratulations to them on this result.
Meegan and Rafferty were the next final to go and they were up against some very strong crews from Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany. Meegan and Rafferty put up a very good fight and can now say they are the 6th fastest crew in the U19 age category in the world. A very well done to them on this result.
Last but not least we saw Holly Davis take to the water once again. With Romania, Ireland and Uruguay out in front, it was a tight race between the top three from the very beginning. The Romanian rower took the lead but Holly showed her stamina yet again to push out to clear water ahead of the rest of the boats and crossed the line securing her silver medal. Absolutely fantastic result and well done to Holly on some incredible racing over the last few days.
“This weekend the U19 team raced in Paris and achieved some impressive results winning a silver medal and competitive A Final finishes. After a successful U23 World Championships it is very promising to see good results coming from the younger categories as well. The weather over the weekend in Paris posed some challenges with last minute changes to race schedules but the team managed it very well. Congratulations to all athletes, coaches Leah and Miles, team manager Michael and the support team.” said Antonio Maurogiovanni, Rowing Ireland High Performance Director.
“Last weekend we had five crews racing at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Amsterdam. Two of the crews came away with medals on both days with a bronze in the men’s double and the men’s coxed four. It’s very positive to be winning medals at both junior events that we compete in.
Between the U23 and the U19 teams racing at the World Championships we have selected seven crews composed of only 11 athletes. All the crews made the top six in the world. Six out of seven crews are in the top four of the world and five of the athletes won medals. I know that there are more athletes with the dream to represent their country and race at the World Championships and I am sure we can do better than this.
All of us across Rowing Ireland need to help our younger generations to pursue their dream and I am sure that our Board, clubs and coaches can make it happen. A big personal thanks to all coaches that have given a contribution to these results and the families of our young athletes”
We would also like to say a huge well done to Brian Richardson (Ritchie) on his commentating yet again. It is always great to hear an Irish voice while listening to the races back at home!
- JW1x – SILVER
- JW2x – 4th place
- JM2x – 6th place