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McCann does it at the Optimist Leinsters!

The Optimist Leinster Championships took place at the weekend on the 12th and 13th of June at Skerries Sailing Club.

Peter McCann with a solid performance won the Leinster Senior Championship with a total score of 11 points, while that ever rising star Daire Cournane, won the Leinster Junior Championship with a remarkable 5 bullets in the five race event.

For the third event this year, the forecast for the weekend was light winds on Saturday and the hope of better wind on Sunday.

The forecast proved to be correct and while there was wind present before launching,  it began to wane as the fleets launched after noon on Saturday. Thereafter, the wind was to weaken further and conditions were shifty for the day.

Race One.

In the Junior fleet’s first race, it was all Daire Cournane who streaked ahead of the fleet to win comfortably. He was followed by Jamie Tingle in a great 10th place finish. Anna Kelly finished an impressive 11th. Criofan Guilfoyle in 12th and Barry Shanahan 23rd were to serve up their best finishes of the event. In the Senior fleet, Philip Brownlow was first to the front and chased by Peter McCann maintained his lead all the way around to take the honour in great style. Jil (with one “L”) McGinley finished a very impressive 4th, Sèafra Guilfoyle was 6th Eoin Lyden 9th and Cian Byrne 11th.

Race Two

As the wind lightened further the Race Officer had the course shortened and got the  Junior fleet away. Daire Cournane again won with ease and was followed by Anna Kelly who had a fantastic 9th place finish. 10 year old James McCann finished a remarkable 12th and Richard McGinley in 23rd had his best result of the event.

In the Senior fleet, the customary RCYC dominance of the top 5 positions was compromised by the light and shifty airs. The race was won by Adam Hyland (RStGYC) Peter McCann was 4th, Philip Brownlow 5th and Louise Shanahan had a fantastic 8th place finish.

Race Three

After the Senior race the race officer, tried to get the Junior Fleet away for a third race but the wind was rapidly disappearing. It wasn’t long before he had to raise the dreaded black flag to bring some order to the Junior starting line. Finally, the Junior fleet took off, (or drifted off) but with so many over the line it was impossible to identify fairly, all of those that deserved a black flag. The race officer recalled the fleet and then declared that racing for the day was abandoned. There were many young sailors relieved that they had survived the black flag penalty. 136 Optimists were then towed to the shore.


Conditions were far more to the sailors liking with a good consistent breeze. The early start had the fleets in the race area for the 10.25 gun.

Race Four.

Daire Cournane was once again the victor in the Junior race. He was followed gamely by Robert Dickson (HYC) who was Daire’s closest opponent for the entire event.   Ronan Cournane had a great 5th finish, as had Jamie Tingle in 8th place but the hats were off in this race to Rebecca O’Shaughnessy who finished in a marvellous 11th place.

In the Senior fleet, Sèafra Guilfoyle lying in 10th place over night, made his desperate bid to get back into contention. He came in 1st with Sophie Browne on his heels in 2nd, Philip Brownlow 3rd, Peter McCann 4th and Jil (with one “L”) McGinley an impressive 6th.

Race Five.

The Junior fleet were off and at this stage, the spectators in the support boats were wondering, should Daire Cournane stop to read the Sunday newspapers, as he was so far ahead of his challengers.  He claimed his fourth win in a row. Once again Robert Dickson (HYC) was in 2nd . Daire’s brother Ronan had an unbelieveable 4th place finish, in very tricky conditions. Richard Thompson 16th and Claire O’Sullivan 17th had their well deserved, best placed finishes of the event.

In the Senior fleet it was Patrick Crosbie’s turn to shine, coming in a very convincing 1st, followed by Sèafra Guilfoyle in 3rd, Peter McCann 6th, Eoin Lyden 7th and Jil (with one “L”) McGinley in another great finish 8th place. With discards kicking in, the Senior race was getting close at the top.

Race Six.

With the Sunday papers tucked under one arm, Daire Cournane took the Junior Leinster title with his amazing fifth win in a row. This was an outstanding sailing achievement by Daire, who now holds three of this year’s provincial titles. Adam D’Arcy had a very commendable 18th place finish in conditions that were not easy.

In the Senior race, there was an exciting finish to the event, Peter McCann clung grimly to the front, chased by Sèafra Guilfoyle all the way around the course, but Peter is a competitor and he held on, to win the race and the Leinster Senior title by one point, from last year’s Leinsters winner, Sèafra in 2nd place. Cian Byrne finished the event with a great 4th place, Sophie Browne was 5th and Jil (I won’t say it again) McGinley finishing a great event in 6th place, Patrick Crosbie finished in 8th place. Eva Donworth in her first event in the Gold Fleet finished in a very creditable 20th position.

So the RCYC impact on the top of the Senior Gold fleet overall was;

1st Peter McCann

2nd Sèafra Guilfoyle

4th Jil McGinley (a truly outstanding result)

5th Philip Brownlow

10th Patrick Crosbie

11th Eoin Lyden

12th Cian Byrne

Louise Shanahan’s 8th in the second race, lifted her to finish 3rd overall, in  the Senior Silver fleet. Maeve O’Sullivan and Rory Martin were 14th and 15th respectively in the Senior Silver fleet.

In the Junior Fleet in Gold the RCYC had:

1st Daire Cournane

6th Ronan Cournane

12th Jamie Tingle

In the Junior Silver fleet Charley Breen came into her own and finished in a great 3rd place. Some of the other Junior Silver fleet performances are worth noting for the future, namely;

3rd Charley Breen

5th Anna Kelly

6th Richard Thompson

10th Rebecca O’Shaughnessy

11th Adam D’Arcy

19th Claire O’Sullivan

22nd Barry Shanahan

In the regatta fleet, Tom Keal was the RCYC hero of the event, finishing in a magnificent 2nd place overall. His outstanding performance was followed by an equally remarkable result from Lucy Donworth in 4th place overall. Ronan Walsh 19th and Luke McGrath 22nd both had a great event.

Once again all our sailors made the RCYC proud of their behaviour both on and off the water.

Full list of RCYC positions:

Senior Fleet Positions

1st Peter McCann

2nd Sèafra Guilfoyle

4th Jil McGinley

5th Philip Brownlow

10th Patrick Crosbie

11th Eoin Lyden

12th Cian Byrne

17th Sophie Browne

20th Harry Whitaker

30th Louise Shanahan

37th Eva Donworth

45th Maeve O’Sullivan

46th Rory Martin

Jil  McGinley also honoured the Club by finishing as the first placed girl overall.

In the Junior fleet the results were:

1st Daire Cournane

9th Ronan Cournane

12th Jamie Tingle

15th Charley Breen

19th Anna Kelly

20th Richard Thompson

25th Rebecca O’Shaughnessy

26th Adam D’arcy

34th Claire O’Sullivan

37th Barry Shanahan

40th Criofan Guilfoyle

44th James McCann

49th Richard McGinley

50th Mike Varnam

58th Thomas McGrath

60th Harry Durcan

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