Fermanagh’s Ryan Ballantine is aiming to build on the silver medal he won at the World U23 Championships when he represents Ireland in the Senior World Rowing Championships which will be held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria from September 9-16.

Ryan, who caught the eye of selectors at the World U23 Championships, will be part of the Ireland Lightweight Mens 4s alongside Andrew Goff, Jake McCarthy and Fintan McCarthy.

And he is hopeful that they will be able to make an impact at the event.

“To be honest we are there for the experience, we were fast enough to go so it made sense for us to go. The main aim for us is to make the A Final but we would like to be in with a shot of a medal as well. Going off what speeds we have at the minute we think we can push for that.

“It is a great experience for us because we are all 20 or 21 and you are taking on the big boys. We will go in without any pressure and see what we can do,” he said.

The quad have been working hard in recent weeks to prepare for the championships and as Ryan, who is a student at Newcastle University, admits it has been a summer dominated by rowing.

“ I just literally spent my summer rowing which hasn’t been a bad thing.I had the World U23s, I was home for a week and then we were away training for three weeks on a camp in Spain. It was then home for a day and then we fly out to Bulgaria for two weeks. We start racing next week and hopefully we can do well out there,” he added.

And the Fermanagh man says that the coaches have been pleased with their performances in camp.

“The coaches are happy with our speed so hopefully we can do well and it will help that we trained in the heat for when we get out there,” he said.

It will then be back to University where he is studying Accounting and Finance but as Ryan acknowledges, the hard work will continue.

“Training is 14 times a week over at university which is twice a day every day or three times a day sometimes. You don’t maybe get to experience the typical university life because you know you have to train. You have to think smart most of the time.”

And it can be hard to juggle training with study.

“You have your studies and training and then trying to work out when I can come back, it can be a bit of a stress but it is not too bad when it works out in the end.”

Given he is at university it may have been easier for Ballantine to row for GB but as he points out, Ireland are having more success than GB in Lightweight.

“Ireland made three A Finals at the U23 World Championships whereas GB didn’t feature in any A Final. You would have more benefits rowing for GB and obviously I’m on the mainland with university but I’ve rowed previously for Ireland, it’s in my roots and I may have a better chance of getting a medal with Ireland.”

And what about further down the road and the Olympics?

“It is on my mind at the minute going into the senior world championships because ultimately the Olympics only comes around every four years and the World Championships is the best you can do in between that. I suppose the ultimate dream is to get to the Olympic Games,” he concluded.