It was another fantastic year for the sport of rowing in Fermanagh, undoubtedly headlined by Enniskillen’s Holly Nixon winning a World Championship gold medal with the Great Britain coxless four in Rotterdam. 
Nixon, a product of Portora Boat Club that enjoyed more success at the Irish Rowing championships in 2016, made up for missing out on the Olympics with a devastating and comprehensive win over reigning championships United States in the final. 
In so doing, she became the first Fermanagh person to win a senior gold medal at a major sporting championships. 
Speaking after the win, Holly commented: “I was saying the other day that everybody back home has played a part. As we say in rowing, ‘a happy rower is a fast rower’ and I couldn’t have asked anymore from Portora Boat Club who for the first seven years of my career gave me the best opportunity and the best chance. I didn’t know at that point that I was going to go international but Derek (Holland, coach at Portora Boat Club) could not have done a better job at pushing me in the right direction.” 
Elsewhere it was another superb Irish Rowing Championships at the National Rowing Centre in Cork for Portora Boat Club as they came away from three days of competitive rowing with six Irish titles in the bag. 
Stand out in all of this was undoubtedly on Friday when the Men’s J18 8 won the title in what was also one of the most dramatic races of the entire weekend. 
Having not won the coveted title for 34 years before their 2014 success, Portora have now won three in a row but none probably quite as dramatic as this one with Portora prevailing by 0.4 of a second over Cork Boat Club.
A notable win too for Cambridge bound Sam Armstrong the only rower to have rowed in all three winning Portora teams since 2014.
Another superb win was that of Barney Rix and Ryan Ballantine in the Men’s Intermediate Pair as they powered clear in the final 500m to win clear water and secure the first over 18 win by a Portora crew at the Irish Rowing Championships since 1957. 
There was some good success at the younger age groups with three titles at Junior 15 level.
There was an Irish title for the Women’s J15 4X and the Girls’ Junior 15 8 and the Boys J15 quad who rowed through boys from Shandon much bigger than themselves to win. 
Veteran Gerry Murphy also won gold, his eighth Irish Rowing Championships gold medal in nine years as he won the Men’s Masters Single Sculls. 
At the 59th Erne Head of the River Portora Boat Club dominated the junior ranks while Trinity College Dublin stormed to their second successive headship.
First down the course for Portora was their junior men’s eight. Coming in of the back of a successful Lagan Head the week before the crew were keen to test their speed against the country’s top eights ahead of the School’s Head of the River in London on March 17. The crew came over the line in eighth position overall and over one minute ahead of the second placed crew in their category from Commercial.
The girl’s J18 8 finished the day as the third fastest women’s crew on their way to winning their category; however, were pushed hard by the crew from Methody.
There were also wins for Portora’s men’s junior 16 8.
There was also impressive international performances by Portora rowers in Cardiff at the Home Internationals were six rowers represented Ireland. Indeed, Cormac McLaughlin, Barney Rix, Ryan Ballantine and Lloyd Seaman rowed together in the senior four, providing one of only three outright wins for Ireland.