Three of Portora Boat Club’s top eights travelled to Belfast on Saturday past to contest the Ulster School’s Boat Race on the River Lagan and returned home with two victories out of three.
Taking to the water first was the boy’s junior 16 eight of Odhran Donaghy, Nathan Timoney, Matthew McBrien, Robbie Mills, Rory Blake, Jack McDade, Sam Balcombe, Jack Kennedy with coxed Rory Farragher. In a straight final against Methodist College, the crew jumped out to a one-length lead before the first bend on the course played out into the Belfast crew’s favour, levelling the field. However, as the course meandered back into Portora’s favour there was no doubt who would cross the finish line first as the young Portora crew crossed easily in front to retain the Craig Cup.
Having cruised through their time trial that morning, the boy’s junior 18 eight of James Foster, Ross Corrigan, Sam Armstrong, Aaron Johnston, Barney Rix, Sean O’Hare Smith, Conor McLaughlin, Ryan Ballantine coxed by Rory Farragher, met Methodist College in the final. In a similar fashion to their junior 16 counterparts, the Portora crew held Methodist College level around the outside of the first bend on the course before stretching out into a comfortable lead to cross the line as worthy winners.
In the final race of the day, the girl’s junior 18 eight of Mia Elliott, Zoe McCutcheon, Caitlynn Fee, Elizabeth Clarke, Miriam Kelly, Lydia Mulligan, Sophie Sherlock, Aine McCreesh coxed by Sarah Dolan were drawn against Bann Rowing Club having qualified through a tight time trial. In a repeat of last year’s final, both crews exchanged blows through the first half of the race with the lead changing several times before Bann edged out to a clear water victory over Portora.
The day was not without controversy; however, as Bann were disqualified after crossing the line for lane interference at a crucial point earlier in the race. Nonetheless, the result stood as a re-row produced a similar result.
The girl’s will look to regroup ahead of Athlone Regatta this coming Saturday, which will prove to provide a spectacle of racing as clubs from around the country descend upon Coosan Point four weeks prior to the Irish Championships in July.
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