A total of 30 members of Portora Boat Club travelled to the National Masters Rowing Championships in Nottingham on June 11-12, nearly half of whom returned with Gold or Silver medals. For the first time medals were won by both local women and men’s crews in the 1000m competition.

Continuing an extraordinary season, Gerry Murphy won Gold in lightweight single and heavyweight double sculls as well as coxed fours alongside rowers from City of Derry, Carlow and London.

Gerry then teamed up with Fermanagh athletes to win a Silver medal in the prestigious Men’s over 50 Championship eight.

The basis of this crew won Lower and Intermediate titles in 2017 and 2019 respectively. On Sunday they were only beaten by local Nottingham and Union Boat Club whose crew was stacked with former GB international rowers.

Rory Farragher and four of the Men’s eight also won bronze in the over 50 Championship coxed fours, despite being severely disadvantaged at the start, through no fault of their own.

Rowing in his first Championships, Shane McGovern impressed in the ‘stroke’ seat of both boats. Not by coincidence, Farragher had earlier coxed Murphy’s over 65 Championship four to gold, and so finished with a medal of each colour.

The Portora B women’s quadruple sculling boat added a further Gold medal in the novice event, with the club’s A crew qualifying and finishing fifth in the highly competitive Championship category.

Despite extremely strong headwinds, Portora crews also competed successfully in Women’s Intermediate over 27, over 50, over 55, mixed eights, Men’s Championship fours and various aged mixed quads, demonstrating potential for the near future.

Club Chairman Alastair Keys was understandably delighted. He said: “This weekend Portora BC demonstrated the progress that has been achieved by Fermanagh adult rowers over the past few years. We had the second highest number of crews competing in Nottingham and achieved fantastic medal success across a number of categories.

“However, what was just as impressive was the courage everyone showed, competing in really difficult conditions, many in an event like this for the first time.

“As a group we’re indebted to our Captains, Siobhan O’Hare-Smith and Alan Crooks, as well as our coxes, Caitlin O’Hare and Rory Farragher and, finally, the coaches who have given us so much of their time, Simon Dickie and Seb Peeters for the women and men respectively, not forgetting Gerry Murphy and the tremendous work he has done with the sculling groups recently.”