Six golds for Portora rowers at Irish Masters

Portora Boat Club returned home on Saturday from the Rowing Ireland 1k Classic with six national wins out of seven finals.

The 1000m Classic is a Rowing Ireland tier-one event held annually at Lough Rynn in County Leitrim. The top over 27 Masters’ rowers from Ulster, Munster, Connacht and Leinster came together to see who is the best in Ireland.

Early in the day the Portora over 50s women’s coxless quad, steered by Carmel Dane followed up on their second place at the British Championships with a superb win.


This time, Cheryl Ballantine sat in the two seat and provided length and power to push the crew to victory.

Portora women also finished third in this event in a crew led by Laura Wilkin.

Simon Crawford and Chris Allen finished their domestic season on a high with a well-timed win in the men’s over 43 double sculls. Not to be outdone, Gerry Murphy won the over-65 equivalent with his partner from City of Derry.

Only two weeks ago Marcella O’Reilly and Helen Flanagan won the British Intermediate Championship, now they are also the fastest over 50s in Ireland. This was their second title after winning the quad sculls earlier in the day. Portora’s Cassidy and Wilkin came a creditable third in the same event.

Chris Allen, showing his skills, stepped into the men’s over 50s coxed four and won his second gold beating Muckross, Castleconnel and Tribesmen. Unfortunately, the men had to withdraw from racing in the eight.

The women’s eight had an excellent performance and were the fastest over 50s, beating rowers from Lee, Tribesmen, Cork, Tralee and Shandon Boat Clubs.

The clubs best performance arguably came from Helen Flanagan. In the over 43 single sculls, the Fermanagh athlete held off a late charge from a Limerick sculler and powered to victory, her third title after winning the double and quadruple sculls.


“I was nervous coming into this national competition,” said Flanagan. “As a group we did very well in Nottingham at the British Championships but this time we were racing not the just the best in Ireland but our teammates from Portora.

“I am delighted for everyone including the rowers who weren’t competing today. We pushed ourselves together all year for this absolutely joint success. A big thank you to everyone including Enniskillen Royal Boat Club who allow us to use their facilities.”

Training for Portora rowers will continue over the summer with the next domestic competition being held over 500m in Carrick-on-Shannon in early August.

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Portora excel at Irish rowing championships