years of my undergrad”. NUI Galway began to
dominate university rowing in Ireland and it was
pretty obvious why.
They had a system and it worked. Other universities
began to take note and, encouragingly, started to
step up to the plate. They had to, if they wanted
The emphasis is now shifting towards creating stable programmes with full-time head coaches, some from overseas. They provide expertise, mentoring and a nurturing, fun environment in which to develop new athletes, some of whom
may be looking towards national team options.
This is being actively supported by the universities
themselves which are also expressing a more global
outlook rather than emphasis on Gaelic sports.
The standard has moved in an upward trajectory
as a result of this. NUI Galway are no longer
dominating, due to more investment in
professional coaching in other Irish universities
in order to keep up with the rising standard at
events such as Henley Royal Regatta.
Folan says: “the rise in standard has led to
a more professional structure in many of the
universities in Ireland and Northern Ireland in
order to compete at that level.”
The future is bright. The concerted effort to
build rowing programmes alongside the already
advanced education system will surely reap
rewards and create a base of rowing talent which
are less likely to leave Irish shores.
● Gearoid Towey
Queens University Belfast
women’s novices in
action at the Irish National
Issue 17 – August 2011
© Watersedge.com/Rowing Ireland