Race to take place on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Trinity College and UCD are set to battle it out to win the Irish Universities Boat Races 2015 as the opening day of the St. Patrick’s Day festival commences.
The annual 2km race across the River Liffey sees rivals University College Dublin and Trinity College compete against one another in a bid to win four separate races.
These races include the women’s beginner race, known as the the Sally Moorehead trophy, and the men’s beginner race, or the Dan Quinn Shield.
Following these are the two main events, the Gannon Cup and the Corcoran Cup, which see the male and female teams go head to head to attain the highly coveted trophy.
Expectations are high for the event with David O’Malley, who previously represented Ireland internationally at under-age level, competing on the UCD team this year.
"We have prime-billing this year as the race is going to take place on Saturday afternoon, on the opening day of the festival. There is always a massive crowd there to watch the race and a great atmosphere as well so we are really looking forward to the competition in March," said competition organiser Colm Daly.
Daly believes that there is very little activity surrounding the River Liffey during the four day festival, of which the rowing competition has been a central feature for the last five years, as the competition organisers work alongside the festival organisers.
“One of the major attractions to the event is that there is activity all across the city during the festival, but there remains very little activity on the River Liffey, through the middle of the city, aside from this event," commented Daly.
Three open-top buses and an average of 300 cyclists follow the race as it journeys across the River Liffey, passing by significant Dublin landmarks throughout.
“It is the biggest event of the rowing year for us. It is a massive achievement for the college to win the Irish Universities Boat Races,” said ladies captain of the Trinity Women’s team, Sally O’Brien.
It seems that there is immense rivalry between the two colleges.
"UCD have won it for the last seven years. UCD are determined to win it for the eighth year this year, which has never happened before," said Daly.
"I expect UCD to be exceptionally good this year again, but Trinity remain favourites as they have a settled boat going into the competition," continued Daly.
The two competing teams have undertaken highly intensive training since September to prepare for the event.
"We train throughout winter and in early February the top eight people to attain a place on the team are selected," said 21 year old O’Brien.
"We do ten training sessions per week during winter and that has now increased to eleven sessions per week as we approach the final couple of weeks," continued O’Brien.
The event is funded largely by the students themselves, with their respective colleges also providing contributions.
However, the task of finding sponsorship continues to prove difficult.
"We have always been looking for a sponsor, but it has been quite difficult to find companies in Ireland that would want to sponsor the event and make it as high profile as we would like it to be," said O’Brien.
"It is a huge shame that there is no official sponsor for the event. You would imagine perspective businesses and employers would be interested in a big event like this," added Daly.
Dublin City Council declined to comment on the matter, when contacted.
The event will commence at 3.30pm, on the 14th of March. The women’s race is expected to take place at half four, followed by the men’s race at five o’clock.
The race will begin at O’Connell Bridge and conclude at the steps of St.James’s Gate, and is free for spectators to attend.
Photo: 2015 Dublin University Boat Races/ Facebook