The last day of September was one which promised wind and heavy rain, but this did not deter Athlone Boat Club members traveling to Tullamore to compete in the Offaly Rowing Clubs annual Head or River Regatta event.
The day started early for the club with Paul Gallen, Luke Hannon and Aidan Molloy taking to the water just outside the clubhouse of Offaly Rowing Club, club PRO Padraig Hegarty, reports.
“Paul, having just returned from the Worlds Master Regatta in South Africa, where he won three medals, once again showed the talent this man has with an exceptional performance to once again take another win.
“This is the third year that Paul has won this event in Master 1X having previously been successful in 2021 and 2022 and now again in 2023. We look forward to seeing what 2024 brings for Paul.
“Luke Hannon produced an exceptional row on the day but missed out marginally on the medals. Aidan Molloy, having originally rowed for Offaly Rowing Club before joining Athlone, was very comfortable on familiar waters and displayed exceptional rowing on the day to take a win in his category of Mens Jnr16 1X.
“The weather started to turn for the worse with heavy rain and increased head winds as our next group took to the water for the second event. For some of these youthful participants, this was their first time to race in this individual sculling event and each of them should feel very proud of themselves. Exceptional rowing was demonstrated on the day with some great placings within the relevant age groups.
Athlone Boat Club’s Sophie Reynolds had an outstanding row which saw her take the win in her category of women’s Jnr14 1X. It was not just this win that had Sophie stand out but her overall ranking on the day which saw her outperforming Jnr 15, 16 and 18 rowers, both male and female from around the country, next year certain to bring much success for Sophie.
“Each rower on the day is applauded for their commitment to compete in what was not the nicest of days weather wise. Compliments to the regatta committee of Offaly Rowing Club for delivering a very organised, safe event which Athlone Boat Club look forward to visiting again in 2024,” Padraig said.
Club captain Nick Friel also expressed his gratitude to all the coaching teams who assisted the respective rowing individuals and teams during the regatta.
“I wish to pay particular tribute to Paul Gallen. Under the beautifully clear African sky and at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level the World Masters Rowing Regatta was held in Tshwane, South Africa. Paul competed and won three gold medals. He stroked the Irish Quad to victory in a very convincing team performance. The crew had been training for some months and included T Corcoran from Cork and S Lockwood and G Giplin from Belfast. Paul also won gold in an 8+ International crew boat. On the last day of the regatta Paul won another gold in a mixed quad. Paul’s achievements are to be lauded,” Nick remarked.