Luke Keaney and Paddy McGlynn on Donegal Bay
It was a very successful weekend for the Donegal Bay Rowing Club, taking home two All-Ireland medals at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships at Portmagee in Kerry.
Pride of place goes to Luke Keaney (former Donegal senior footballer) and Paddy McGlynn, who took gold while Luke and Rosie Temple took bronze in the mixed doubles.
The club also had Dawn Wray and Rosie Temple competing in the women's doubles, finishing 7th.
The success has put the Donegal Town club on the rowing map. They left for Kerry on Thursday last and according to Luke Keaney, surprised a few people in the Kingdom with the success.
"We had a very tight knit group and it was brilliant. We came in under the radar and it was great to take home the club's first ever All-Ireland medals."
Luke and Rosie were first in action on Saturday in what was a straight final. "We got off to a good start and were in the pack. We came through in the final kilometre and just failed to make second place," said Keaney.
Paddy McGlynn and Keaney came through their heat on Saturday to qualify but it was not plain sailing in the final. "The boat beside us crashed into us at the start and were second last of the nine off th eline. We put in a lot of work to get back up to third and then in the last kilometre we made a push, getting to second and then pipping Rosscarbery on the line to take first place."
Dawn Wray and Rosie Temple on Donegal Bay
Keaney says there was disbelief among the rowing public in Kerry and Cork at the Donegal success. "No one was talking about us, but we have put coastal rowing on the map for Donegal," he said, adding that all the top rowers were in action, some of them former Olympians.
Keaney paid a special tribute to the club's coach, Patrick Brady, who could not travel due to Covid-19 but they were in constant contact. Brady has been central to rowing in Donegal Town for many years and he had been putting the medal winners through their paces over the last nine weeks on Donegal Bay.
Among other Donegal competitors who were competing in Portmagee at the weekend included Kevin Gavigan, Sean Molloy and McGonagles from Loughros Point and Kincasslagh clubs.
Looking ahead Luke Keaney is hoping to compete in the Europeans with Rosie Temple later this year in Italy and the world championships are being held in Portugal next year and these may also be on the radar.
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