Enniskillen Royal Boat Club crews will travel with high hopes to Inniscarra Lake, Farran Wood in Cork this weekend for the Irish National Championships.

In all, 77 rowers making up 51 crews will compete for ERBC over the three days of racing from Friday July 12 to Sunday July 14 and the club will be aiming to continue at the forefront of Junior rowing in Ireland having claimed 12 titles at the championships last year.

Coach Derek Holland is pleased with how things are going leading into this weekend’s championships.

“I think we are in good shape and we are happy enough with where we are at so we will just see how it goes for the weekend.

“We seem to put ourselves under a lot of pressure to do well but we have a very strong group again this year. With it being the Irish Championships it is very hard to know what you are going to come away with because anything can happen but I’m quite confident that the crews are well prepared to come away with a few Irish titles,” he stated.

Preparations this year have not been ideal with bad weather leading to a number of races having to be cancelled in Ireland but they travelled to England for a number of events and Holland feels that will benefit the crews. The Club had great success across the Irish Sea, most recently at Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. They also had wins at National Schools Regatta in May at Eton Dorney and had the highest ever finishes of Irish Junior Crews at London Schools Head for the first eight crews.

“With the senior group we have had a lot of disruption with bad weather at racing events in Ireland this year so we have had limited amount of racing and it is very hard to gauge where we are it apart from on the stop watch. The events we have done in England though we have performed very well.

“We will be coming up against some competition this weekend that we haven’t faced here but I think we have the strength and depth to hold them off,” he added.

The weekend will also see a number of younger rowers competing in the championships for the first time but Holland believes that they will be driven on by the older and more experienced rowers.

“We have a lot of younger kids going down for the first time just for the experience and to see what it is all about and for the older kids, many of who have medalled in the previous years, they know what it is all about and it is just keeping the culture going of keeping the performances up and the younger kids will buy into the training and performing. The senior athletes set the culture and they don’t tolerate anyone who is not pulling their weight so it makes the coaches job much easier.”

The first crew racing for Enniskillen Royal Boat Club on Friday morning at 10.40am is the crew which raced at Henley Royal Regatta last week of Jack Kennedy, Jack McDade, Odhran Donaghy and Nathan Timoney and cox Rory Farragher who will be competing in the intermediate coxed four.

Jack Kennedy, Jack McDade and Nathan Timoney will then team up with Aaron Johnston who made a return to training at the Club from Queens Rowing Club to make up a senior four crew and they will race on Friday evening.

The big race on Friday evening is the boys Junior eight which the Club have won four times out of the last five years. Although some of the boys are young to be racing at this age group, they will still have high hopes for the race.

The Girls Junior eights is on Saturday with the girls looking to overcome the girls from Bann who won their last battle at Athlone Regatta last month. This is the crew that made the final at Henley Women’s Regatta three weeks ago and training has been going really well for them.

The Men’s and Women’s Junior 16 crews have both been going really well this season both having won at Athlone and they are expected to perform well at Championships.

For the younger J15 and J14 crews, many of whom will compete at their first Irish Championships this weekend, training has been going well and they are hoping to return to Enniskillen with coveted Championships medals.

The Irish Championships are always one of the big goals for ERBC and Holland states that they aren’t making the trip just to make up the numbers.

“It is one of our big aims for the year to come away with national titles. Kids have put a lot of time and effort in and we wouldn’t be going down if we weren’t prepared to do well,” he said.