Ireland On The Brink For More Rowing Success At European Championships

The 2020 European Rowing Championships got underway in Poznan on Friday, with Ireland sending seven crews over to compete from the 9th – 11th October.

Five of those seven crews are made of women and they will be looking to continue the successes of the U23 and Junior crews who brought home six medals from their European Championships in September.

Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty are competing in the Women’s Pair event. The duo finished third, picking up bronze in the A final at the European U23 Championships last month and have now qualified for A final which takes place at 10:36am tomorrow.

The pair got the racing underway for Ireland on Friday where they finished third behind the Greek and Italian crew. In today’s repechage, they qualified for the A final after crossing the line first with a time of 7:16.67. In the final tomorrow they will be up against tough competition but will be hopefully of securing yet another medal on the international stage for Ireland. The Women’s Pair boat has been qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Hanlon Hegarty
Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty smile with their U23 European bronze medals. (Photo: Tara Hanlon (@tarahanlon98) Instagram)

Sanita Puspure will be defending her European Championship crown after winning gold at last year’s championships in Lucerne. Puspure has qualified for the A final which takes place at 13:31pm tomorrow.

The currently World champion finished second in her heat on Friday and qualified for the final today after finishing second in her semi-final with a time of 7:37.84. The final is set to be hotly contested with Jeannine Gmelin, Pia Greiten, Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou all showing great promise in the lead up to the final. Puspure however has been here before and will be looking to draw on her experience to take her home. Like the Women’s Pair boat, the Women’s Single Scull has also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Sanita Puspure
Sanita Puspure is the current European and World champion.

The Women’s Four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh will also contest the A final which takes place at 11:46am. The crew competed in their heat on Friday alongside boats from Spain, France, Romania, Germany and Netherlands. They finished two seconds  behind the Netherlands crew with a time of 06:26.990. Today, they qualified for the A final, comfortably finishing first with a time of 6:26.96, over five seconds ahead of Denmark in second place. The crew will go into tomorrows final with real belief that if they row to their capabilities they will come home with more success for Ireland.

The crew consists of Fiona Murtagh who has won the Head of Charles two years in a row and won at the Irish Rowing Championships. Aileen Crowley, alongside Monika Dukarska, qualified the Women’s Pair for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Eimear Lambe has been competing internationally since 2015 and won Silver at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships. Aifric Keogh has been a member of the high-performance team for several years and has won at the Irish Championships and set new World Records on the ergometer this year.

Lambe Murtagh Crowley Keogh
Fiona Murtagh, Aileen Crowley, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh training.

The young crew of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey will be racing in the Lightweight Women’s Double B final tomorrow. The double finished fourth in their heat on Friday and qualified for the A/B semi-final with second place in the repechage. Facing the likes of Italy, Belarus and Switzerland, the Women’s Double finished fifth with a time of 7:08.98 and will now race in the B final tomorrow at 08:15am. Cremen and Casey have competed together for several years and won Silver in this event at the Junior European Championships in 2017. Last month, they brought home silver in the same event at the Under-23 Championships.

Casey Cremen
Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey. (Photo: World Rowing Official Website)

Finally, Lydia Heaphy will contest the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls B final tomorrow at 08:05am. On Friday, Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single facing crews from Norway, Poland, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. Heaphy finished sixth in her heat with a time of 08:01.550 and raced in the repechage the next day. Heaphy finished fourth in the repechage with a time of 7:58.49, qualifying her for the B final.

Last month, Cork’s Lydia Heaphy secured a historic gold medal for Ireland in the Lightweight Women’s Pair alongside Carlow’s Clíodhna Nolan.

Rowing Ireland Medal
Lydia Heaphy and Cliodhna Nolan sporting their new European U23 gold medals. (Photo: @Micelle_McEC Twitter)

Sunday Races (Irish Time)

Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) Lydia Heaphy – B Final – 08:05

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey – B Final – 08:15

Women’s Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty – A Final – 10:46

Women’s Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh – A Final – 11:46

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) Sanita Puspure – A Final – 13:31


Follow the racing:

RTE will be covering the racing on the RTE Player tomorrow!

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a platform giving girls and women a voice in sport. Our mission is to level the playing field through increasing visibility, education and creating a cultural shift.
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