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Catherine Kearns, Brona Coyne, Alison Sher Photo by: Catherine Kearns

Battle of the Currachs: Boston Irish Currach Rowing Regatta

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Catherine Kearns, Brona Coyne, Alison Sher Photo by: Catherine Kearns

The Boston Irish Currach Rowing Club held its annual regatta on Labor Day weekend at Carson Beach, South Boston. Teams from Pittsburgh, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Albany, and New London, competed for North American Currach Rowing Association (NACA) points. NACA was established in 1982, and today comprises teams from Albany, Annapolis, Boston, Columbus, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New London. Each team hosts a regatta, and the team with the most overall points for the season wins the NACA Championship Cup.

With a third place standing for the Boston team thus far in the 2012 season, trailing behind the Pittsburgh and Milwaukee teams, the Boston rowers had a formidable task of beating their competitors. Battling against blustering winds, and strong currents, the gargantuan effort that was required to win the overall NACA points for the day seemed like an unattainable objective for the Boston rowers. But, the strong willed and competitive spirit of the Boston team members allowed them to be fierce opponents for the visiting North Americans.

Under the direction of Boston Club President, Joe McDonagh, rowers were assigned races.

Commencing the day’s competition, the start-gun blasted, and the races began with the 4-men race. Colm Coyne, Joe McDonagh, Martin Ridge, and Caomhan Keane, led with a 1st place position to the finish line. Next, the Boston ladies’ geared up for a 4-women battle on the Bay; stepping into the 4-seater currach were Catherine Kearns, Brona Coogan-Coyne, Alison Sher, and Donna McCrorey. Engaged in intense competition from the visiting teams, the Boston ladies raced off into the open waters, keeping a second place position. But after turning the buoy and en route for home, a tangle ensued.

The Boston ladies’ were usurped, succumbing to the efforts of their Pittsburgh opponents, who disentangled quickly and sped off. However, all was not completely lost for the Boston ladies’ who gained a few NACA points with a third place finish.

Following with the 3-men race, Colm Coyne, Mike Carey, and Martin Ridge brought home a first-place win. A great effort ensued in the 1-man/3-women race, by team mates, Oisin McDonagh, Marion Cremins, Alison Sher, and Brona Coogan-Coyne, who for the first time rowed together as a team.

Captain Oisin, held the boat firmly, keeping it on course, and the team finished in second place.

The 2-men race was assigned to Anthony Keane, our guest rower, on vacation from Connemara, and our very own, Sean Coyne. To the cheers and screams of Boston supporters, the rowers charged to the finish line with a 1st place win. And, again, Anthony, in the 2-men/2-women race, with Donna McCrorey, Ainghne Keady, and Caomhan Keane, led his team to a 1st place victory.

The winning streak continued when Anthony’s son, Caomhan, teamed with partner, Ainghne Keady, in the 1 man-1 woman race, brought home another 1st place win. And, a commendable effort, in the most difficult race of the day, the 1-man, was made by John Paul (JP) Keane, who placed 2nd against Pittsburgh.

The day’s racing ended with a tug-of-war, organized by Padraic Keady, after which the regatta attendees enjoyed a delicious meal made possible by the efforts of his wife Maureen, whom the Club thanks sincerely. That evening an awards party was held at the Clash of the Ash pub in Quincy, hosted by owner, Bernie Connaughton, who provided a great venue, fantastic music by Inchicore, and great food.

Boston’s strong will and competitive spirit prevailed at the Labor Day regatta and the team won the overall NACA Cup points for the day. Boston presently has a first-place NACA standing with a one point lead. The battle continues for the season’s cup, and in order to maintain its first place position, Boston will have to win the overall NACA points at the two remaining upcoming regattas, Annapolis on September 8, and Albany on September 22.

The Boston Irish Currach Club wishes to thank all of you who supported us at our regatta at Carson Beach. Additionally, we thank you sincerely for your financial support, especially the purchase of our raffle tickets, which allows us to fund our regatta and our club in general.

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