UCD beat NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol to take the men’s senior fours on the first day of competition at the Irish Rowing Championships.

The first challenge of the battle between UCD and NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol - which will resume on Saturday in the men’s senior eight - was won during Thursday afternoon’s racing.

The men’s senior four saw two strong crews, who had faced each other just two weeks ago in Henley, face-to-face again.

On English waters it was NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol crew who crossed the line first, but this time UCD used the ambition created by that disappointment to reign supreme.

UCD’s crew led from the start and despite the threat of acceleration by the Galway composite crew they stayed ahead with a convincing four second win.

After the race Gearóid Duane of UCD said: ‘Henley didn’t go well for us and it was frustrating as we knew we had the beating of them.

‘It’s been a long two weeks, waiting to get to show what we could do, but it was worth the wait.’

The University of Limerick/Garda composite wasn’t quite at the pace and finished almost ten seconds behind in third place.

In one of the closest races of the day, Galway’s St Joseph’s College (The Bish) were victorious in winning the men’s junior-18 eight.

There wasn’t an easy stroke for the duration of the 2,000 metre race as the Galway boys were challenged with the relentless determination of a strong Bann Rowing Club crew.

The two crews pushed each other right to the finish line, with just half a second separating the two crews. Portora followed five seconds behind the winners.

Skibbereen’s ladies were successful in the senior double. They fought off the strong and experienced competition of the Old Collegians duo and a young and gutsy Killorglin pair to take the championship title.

Olympians Cathal Moynihan and Sean Casey won the men’s senior double. The Muckross Killarney pair, who rowed in the men’s lightweight and heavyweight fours respectively at the Beijing Olympics, crossed the line just one second ahead of Queen’s University. Lee Valley’s crew finished in third.

The women’s senior four was an event that had no clear favourites before their boats hit the water. Skibbereen’s young crew of Shelley Dineen, Ciara Fitzgerald, Denise Walsh and Orla Hayes had a convincing win over Queens University and an experienced Muckross crew.

Whilst Skibbereen had a clear water win of seven seconds over second place, a mere half second separated second and third place.

It was a first and second placing for Limerick’s Castleconnell Boat Club in the men’s junior single scull. Neil Prendiville won the highly sought after championship by finishing over a length ahead of his club-mate Adrian Sheehan. Andrew Griffin of Neptune Rowing Club, Dublin, finished in third place.

The performances of all three athletes show great promise for their futures in the sport, with Prendiville and Griffin still eligible to compete at junior-18 level next season.

Irish Rowing Championships: day one results:

Eight – Novice:
1 Trinity 6:02.7, 2 UCD 6:08.1, 3 Galway 6:17.4.

Junior 18A: 1 St Joseph’s 5:51.6, 2 Bann 5:52.1, 3 Portora 5:56.4. Junior 16 (non-Championship): 1 Galway, 2 St Joseph’s College, 3 Cork.

Four – Senior: 1 UCD (D Neale, F Manning, G Duane, S Jacob) 6:05.2, 2 NUIG/Grainne Mhaol 6:09.1, 3 University of Limerick/Garda Siochana 6:18.7, 4 St Michael’s 6:25.4.

Intermediate, coxed: 1 UCD 6:26.3, 2 Queen’s 6:29.5, 3 Neptune 6:33.3.

Sculling, Quadruple – Novice, coxed: 1 Shandon 6:54.5, Queen’s 6:58.3, 3 St Michael’s 7:02.1.

Double – Senior: 1 Muckross (S Casey, C Moynihan) 6:30.8, 2 Queen’s 6:31.7, 3 Lee Valley 6:36.3, 4 Skibbereen 6:41.8, 5 Galway 6:48.9.

Single – Lightweight: 1 UCD (A English) 7:12.4, 2 Lee Valley (Dowling) 7:18.4, 3 Three Casltes (Murphy) 7:23.9. Junior 18A: 1 Castleconnell (N Prendiville) 7:21.6, 2 Castleconnell (A Sheehan), 7:24.0, 3 Neptune (Griffin) 7:29.6.

Four – Senior: 1 Skibbereen (O Hayes, C Fitzgerald, D Walsh, M Dineen) 6:51.5, 2 Queen’s 6:58.5, 3 Muckross 6:58.9, 4 UCD 7:07.9, 5 Trinity 7:09.0, 6 NUIG 7:30.7.

Intermediate, coxed: 1 NUIG 7:10.0, 2 Queen’s 7:19.8. 3 Trinity 7:34.4.

Novice, coxed: 1 NUIG 7:23.4, 2 Galway 7:24.7, 3 Queen’s A 7:38.2. Junior 18A: 1 St Michael’s 7:08.8, 2 Cork 7:13.8, 3 Clonmel 7:34.1.

Sculling, Double – Senior: 1 Skibbereen (M Dineen, D Walsh) 7:20.7, 2 Old Collegians 7:28.0, 3 Killorglin 7:33.3. Junior 18A: 1 Portora (J Russell, K Cromie) 7:35.6, 2 Skibbereen 7:45.8, 3 Methodist College RC 7:52.6.

Single – Junior 16 (non-Championship): 1 Fermoy (H Shinnick) 8:09.9, 2 Methodist College (B Jacques) 8:21.3, 3 Lee (Hamel) 8:33.2.