Leinster High Performance Training Group

NiallOn the 2nd of November in Commercial RC a coaches’ meeting was conducted with great interest. I mentioned that a Provincial and Regional approach would be introduced to develop stronger HP athletes from our clubs for International rowing.

RI is in the early stages of this by establishing squad member training groups in Women’s Open & Lightweight and Men’s Open & Lightweight category. In Dublin this contains at the moment athletes from a number of clubs:

Helen Walshe (Three Castles RC)
Eimear Moran (Three Castles RC)
Sarah Dolan (Commercial RC)
Sinead Dolan (DULBC)
Caitriona Jennings (Commercial RC)
Niall Kenny (UCD BC)
Paul O’Donovan (UCD BC)
David Neale (UCD BC)
Cormac Folan (Grainne Mhaol RC)

They use their own boats or club boats at the moment. The group can be changed, reduced or expanded.

To organize this system is a major task. Therefore I have selected  Niall O’Toole, a well – known local former World Champion rower, who has trained at the level required, to support the organization and the daily challenge to get the athletes together in clubs at the Liffey or at Blessington.

Niall will be working 4-8 times a week with the Dublin group of athletes, which is part of the HP senior initial selection squad. Niall is from Commercial, and he has been in contact with a few of your clubs and coaches, and all have shown great enthusiasm and support. Thanks for that so far, but the goal for the athletes is still a fair bit off, and a long and challenging pathway has to be followed before success is achieved.

The purpose is to enhance training, prepare for the season and produce stronger athletes, before crew formation and selection of crews. The athletes train 8 – 14 times at the moment.

It is my hope that clubs will understand this change of approach to athlete training and are ready to support Niall O’Toole.

His role is to help the athletes with encouragement, coaching and to organize training venues and all practical matters concerning the group.

Athletes attachment to their clubs will be embedded, and I will liase with the club coaches initially for the development as the season progress.

And I hope there is room for patience and beginner errors too, with acceptance in your club and by coaches.

Unfortunately, after the Irish Sports Council cuts and down grading of rowing financially, I have to stress that this system is based a lot on volunteer engagement. When our results improves, hopefully this will change in the next Olympiad.

The key words at this stage is to work harder, get achievements and building relationships besides honesty, transparency and fairness.

Hopefully after Christmas similar training groups will emerge in Belfast, Limerick, Galway and Cork.


Morten Espersen
High Performance Director


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