On Friday morning, Irish University squads gathered in Castlewellan for the 2009 Irish University Championships Regatta. Clubs went all out to compete in hope of winning the Wylie Cup, Bank of Ireland Cup, and the new overall university cup.
Racing commenced at 11 a.m. with the men’s intermediate sculls heats. Will Howell and Trevor McKnight were both drawn in the first heat and easily progressed with a Queen’s one-two. In the final, Howell put in another strong performance finishing just behind DUBC captain Ali Floyd. McKnight also rowed well to finish in fourth place, against heavyweight opposition.
The men’s novice eight raced a close heat to finish a narrow second place against DUBC A, enabling them to progress to the final. In what was the best contested final of the day, the fresher crew showed their bottle by holding UCD to the line to take the win by a foot. Congratulations to the lads who have progressed well since Neptune, picking up their first regatta win, as Irish University Novice Champions.
The men’s inter 4+ B crew progressed through their heat easily to finish 2nd to NUIG in the final. In the senior coxless fours, Queen’s men controlled the race up to the last 300m, when bowman unfortunately crabbed to allow UCD to take the win. In the men’s intermediate eight final, Queen’s rowed strongly to secure a one-length win over UCD, winning Queen’s the Wiley Cup ahead of the senior eights final. The senior eight final, did not quite go as Queen’s had planned. Queen’s and Trinity got into a dog-fight in neighbouring lanes, allowing UCD to seize an early advantage on the outside by 500m. Looking back on the field, UCD were able to extend on this lead winning by one and a half lengths, denying QUB a clean sweep of men’s eights. The Gannon Cup had served as a good prerequisite for both Dublin Colleges, showing Queen’s men they needed to raise their game for Queen’s regatta. Despite a disappointing end to the day, this was the first time Queen’s had taken the Wylie Cup since 1996, a credit to the hard work of the squad and head coach Mark Fangen-Hall.
The women’s novice eight was a straight final with Queen’s ladies outstripping the field to provide a Queen’s one-two, with the all-fresher B crew finishing second. This highlighted Queen’s ladies strength at this level. The women’s intermediate and senior events were dominated by Trinity ladies. Trinity ladies have set the marker for all other crews to rise to, delivering convincing performances to take the Bank of Ireland Cup. UCD took the overall university title with 64 points, to Queen’s and Trinity’s 61 points each.