The weather gods looked kindly on the 38th All Ireland Inter-Schools Sailing this weekend and for the first time in 3 years we got racing on the second day. Previous years we had either a feast or a famine when it came to wind on the Sunday but race day 2 arrived with a south easterly and 15 knots.
With a slightly later start due to tide, the Mixed Fleet headed out with a single race to complete in their series while the Optimists had 2 races to complete to ensure a discard could be factored in.
In Mixed Fleet and with almost perfect scores on Saturday, Malahide Community School had bar the shouting, secured both the top team and 1 & 2 in the individual series. With the Lizzie McDowell/Colm Roche pairing taking 3 1sts and Philip McDowell/Colin O’Sullivan taking 2 2nds and a 4th in their 420’s, Sundays was really about finding out who would secure the other podium spots. With St. Fintans, Kilkenny College and Belvedere all in the mix there was still plenty to fight for in the Team event while it looked like a straight battle between St Fintans Shane McLoughlin/Sean Doyle (Mirror) and Kilkenny Colleges Dougie Power (Radial) for the final spot on the individual series podium.
It was not quite so clear cut in the Optimist Fleet, with the likely winner to come from either Malahide Community Schools Gemma McDowell or last years leading Optimist sailor Loghlen Rickard from Gonzaga, with 3rd spot up for grabs between the O’Grady brothers Jamie and Alex (Belvedere) and Jamie McMahon (St Fintans NS). In the Team event Belvedere held a healthy lead, with 2nd spot open to any one of Malahide Community School, Mount Anville and St Fintans NS.
Mixed Fleet PRO for the day Richard Kissane got his fleets away first time, and what a start it was with a real demonstration of the quality of sailor in attendance. Wind more breeze than Saturday, it was’t long before the 420’s of Malahide and Belvedere imposed themselves with a lone Blackrock Radial managing to stick with them up the beat. Behind them a real battle ensued with 10 Radial and 2 Full Rigs racing nose to tail and never much between them. By the bottom mark, the 3 420’s had shaken off the Blackrock Radial, but he held a good lead on the chasing Lasers.
In the other fleet the extra breeze early on gave the Fevas from St. Gerards and Holy Child KIlliney an advantage on the water, but the chasing St Fintans Mirrors kept in touch and when the wind dropped a little second time around, the Mirrors capitalised, losing no further ground to the Fevas. As it happened St. Gerards Feva was OCS, leaving Feva from Holy Child Killiney with line honours ahead of a very competitive pair of Mirrors from St Fintans. Shane McLoughlin/Sean Doyle (St Fintans) in their Mirror had laid down a marker in relation to taking an individual series podium spot as well as consolidating a podium spot for St Fintans in the Team event. It was all down to how the dropping breeze impacted the final lap for the Laser Radials.
With breeze dropping, the Radials clawed back the 420’s on the water but were never going to affect the 2 McDowell 420’s from Malahide. However Mark Bolger (Blackrock), DougiePower (Kilkenny College) and Alex Delamer (Belvedere) raced through superbly to finish ahead of the other 420’s. However on corrected, St Fintans Shane McLoughlins/Sean Doyle in their Mirror retained 3rd individual spot and along with Conor Twohig/Matthew Cotter in their Mirror pushed St Fintans into Team second. Dougie Powers (Radial) strong finish ensured Kilkenny College took Team 3rd ahead of Belvedere A and Belvedere B. After a number of near misses over previous years, The Conor Nolan Memorial Trophy and the top individual prizes were heading to Malahide Community School and well deserved.
With 2 races to get through and all to play for in relation to Team and individual prizes, PRO Jim Lambkin found an edgy and aggressive fleet. A number of general recalls and black flags ensued. However last years winner from Gonzaga’s Loghlen Rickard showed all his experience to take both races and edge ahead of Gemma McDowell (Malahide Community School). The Belvedere brothers Jamie and Alex O’Grady were separated after a superb display from Jamie McMahon from St Fintans NS, leaving Jamie with 3rd spot in the individual series. Along with Shane O’Brien, the O’Grady brothers ensured Belvedere held their top Team, position with Malahide Community School led by Gemma McDowell taking second just ahead of a very young St Fintans NS led by Jamie McMahon and including his younger sister Eve and another O’Grady brother Dylan. Certainly ones to watch considering 4 of the top 5 finishers all sailed on IODAI representative teams this year.
In front of a packed Clubhouse, it was great to see Patsy and Paddy Nolan in attendance to present the Team Trophy to Malahide Community School. Presented in memory of their son Conor who sailed for Belvedere College in the first event back in 1975 but tragically killed a few days later in an accident on way home from working on his boat.
The brainchild of former Belvedere teacher and Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Riocard O’Tiarnaigh this unique event after 38 years is still a firm favourite amongst sailors and their parents. With 2012 Olympians Annalise Murphy and Scott Flanigan competitors here in recent years, this event attracts its fair share of up and coming talented sailors. With almost 100 boats, 120 sailors and over 40 teams from 26 schools here in Sutton this weekend, however school and team honour rather than personal glory was at stake. Till next year.
- Malahide Community School A (L McDowell/C Roche, P McDowell/C O’Sullivan, I Shakelton)
- St Fintans HS, Sutton (S McLoughlin/S Doyle), C Twohig/M Cotter, D Kelly)
- Kilkenny College (D Power, K Geoghegan, A Levie)
- Belvedere College A (A Delamer, D Johnston, F Flood/N Delamer)
- Belvedere College B (C Maher, N Gillet, T Coyne/J Nolan)
- Lizze McDowell/Colm Roche (Malahide Community School A)
- Philip McDowell/Colin O’Sullivan (Malahide Community School A)
- Shane McLoughlin/Sean Doyle (St Fintans HS)
- Dougie Power (Kilkenny College)
- Mark Bolger (Blackrock College)
- Belvedere College A (A O’Grady, J O’Grady, S O’Brien)
- Malahide Community School (G McDowell, A Coyle, C Buckley)
- St Fintans NS (J McMahon, E McMahon, D O’Grady)
- Loghlen Rickard (Gonzaga)
- Gemma McDowell (Malahide Community School)
- Jamie O’Grady (Belvedere College)
- Jamie McMahon (St Fintans NS, Sutton)
- Alex O’Grady (Belvedere College)
- St Fintans NS, Sutton (Jamie McMahon, Eve McMahon, Dylan O’Grady)