Bish win National Championships Titles

The peak of the national rowing calendar in Ireland, the National Championships, was held last weekend (10th-12th July) at the National Rowing Centre, situated in the Lee Valley near Coachford, Co. Cork. These Championships saw the return to the traditional form of St. Joseph's College "The Bish" in taking one third of the Junior Championship (i.e. Jr 18) events as well as success at younger levels, after a dry spell of a couple of years. Over forty oarsmen travelled to the championship venue, with ages ranging from 13 to 18, together with coaches and committee member, to race clubs and schools from all over Ireland North and South.

Success for The Bish began early on Friday morning with the Mens Junior Coxed Four cruising to a second place finish in their semi-final to place themselves in the final later that afternoon along with St. Michaels RC, Presentation College Cork, Lee RC, Portora Royal School and Clonmel RC. The much anticipated final took place with heavy rain and a slight cross wind, conditions which made racing all the more difficult. All boats moved away cleanly from the start with nothing between them after the first 100 meters. The Bish then began their stride, moving to the front of the pack by a canvas (approx. 6 feet). Between the 250m and 1000m marks the Bish held their lead, rebuffing several pushes from Presentation College and Portora Royal School while St.Michaels fell away from the pack. Still with a canvas lead at 1000m over Portora, Presentation, Clonmel and Lee, all of whom were dead level, the Bish took a massive push, extending their lead to just over a length in less than 20 strokes. Bish began their sprint as they passed the 1500m mark as did Clonmel. Both crews moved ahead of the pack. Clonmel made a hard push for the line, but the Bish held their power and cruised to victory, a length and a half ahead of Clonmel. Hundreds greeted the crew as they return to the slip to receive their prizes, the much coveted "Pot", a success which the club had not achieved since 2005.

The next day the weather deteriorated further which resulted in many races being move forward, to avail of the better weather in the morning. Mens Junior 8s were brought forward from half past five to half past one. The Bish's victory in the 4s had clearly shaken some of the opposition, with a couple of crews making drastic changes to their 8s. The 8s was a straight final with 5 boats lining up at the start, The Bish, Bann RC, Portora Royal School, Presentation College and Clonmel. The wind has picked up from the previous day as had the rain. Due to the conditions a quick start was called, meaning that all crews had less time to prepare themselves at the stake boats. Despite this, all crews got away cleanly with Portora and Bann pushing out to take a half canvas lead over the rest of the pack. Over the next 750m, the Bish ate away at their lead, reeling in both crews to draw level at the 750m mark. By the 1k mark the Bish had a lead of half a canvas. At this point the Bish took their push, just as they had done in the 4s the previous day. Again, this push left the other crews for dead with the Bish extending their lead to about 1 length. Now with 750m left, the Bish took a series of pushes to fight off all attempts by Bann and Portora to gain ground. Coming into the final 250m, passing the hundreds of supporters on the bank, the Bish were cruising, keeping their length and power. St. Josephs crossed the finish line a length and clear water ahead of Bann, with Portora coming in 3rd place. Coaches, Parents and hundreds of ex-oarsmen lined the slipway as St. Joseph's went to collect their Pots, the second of the weekend, an amazing result for such a young crew, with 7 of the crew eligible to row junior again next year. The two Pots won this year brings the total Irish Championships won by the club to an outstanding 24, the most successful school's club and placing it within the top 20 of all rowing clubs on the island of Ireland.

As well as the success at Junior 18 level, The Bish achieved great success at younger age groups. Two Junior 14 Quads came first in the A and B finals and a win was also recorded with Jr 15 Sculls. The Junior 16 Eight came 2nd to Portora as did the Junior 15 Sculler who was unlucky to come second in a very tight race.

Jr 18 8+: Lubos Simo, Conor Egan, Oisin Hennigan, Ellery Smith, Andrew Kemple, Eoghan Murphy, Richard Bennett, Robert O'Callahan. Cox-Michael Fleming.

Jr 18 4+: Fionnan Tolan, Eoghan Murphy, Andrew Kemple, Robert O'Callahan.

Jr 16 8+: Conor Breen, Emmett Long, Arron Kelly, Dean Madden, Fionnann Tolan, Daniel Hindel, Lubos Simo, Conor Egan. Cox: Gavin Clarke

Jr 15 1x: Fionnan Tolan

Jr 14 4x A: James Egan, John Flynn, Eric McEvoy, Ross Maxwell Cox: Michael Flatherty

Jr 14 4x B: Jack Bennett, Adian Kinneen, Dylan Delargy, Mark Istomin. Cox:Eoin Power

Jr 14 1x: James Egan

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