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Some of Meitheal Mara’s crews taking part in the Youth Race as part of the 2016 Ocean to City. 	Picture: Clare Keogh
Some of Meitheal Mara’s crews taking part in the Youth Race as part of the 2016 Ocean to City. Picture: Clare Keogh
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Youth boat race ready to launch

MEITHEAL Mara's youth members are getting ready to make waves!

Organised by Meitheal Mara, dozens of young people will tonight take part in a heated race between Blackrock and Cork city.

The race, which starts at 6.30pm this evening, launches from the newly renovated Blackrock Hour.

Crews from the Cork Life Centre, Bishopstown Youth Project, Farranree Youth Project, Ballyphehane Foróige, Douglas Foróige, Ballincollig Foróige and Naomhóga Chorcaí are all set to take part.

Most of the crews are regular participants in Meitheal Mara's bádoireacht rowing programme, though the Ballincollig participants are taking part for the very first time.

The programme is a unique boat building and rowing initiative aimed at people aged 14 to 18. It has been running since 2002, with approximately 130 individuals taking part each year.

Participants learn to row currachs, sail and to build their own boats and woodcrafts.

Two of the currachs on display in tonight's race were built by the members themselves, with more than 35 rowers taking part in the race.

In addition, a variety of handcrafted currachs will be used, including fifteen Dunfanaghy currachs, two naomhógs and one Owey Island style currach.

It is the first time that the Owey Island boat will be used in the youth race, rowed singlehandedly by William from the Cork Life Centre, who was part of the winning Ocean to City youth crew in 2016.

The tough 4.5km race is expected to cross the finish line at Lapp's Quay at 7pm.

Cathy Buchanan, general manager at Meitheal Mara, said, "The blisters, rivalry and seamanship that will be exhibited at the youth race expresses the experiences that the Leeside young people have gained from their involvement in Meitheal Mara's Bádoireacht rowing and boat building programme. Bádoireacht is key to Meitheal Mara's activities and relationships."

The programme is supported by a number of Cork youth organisations and by funding from the Cork ETB and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.