photo (c) Gerry Farrell 2018
photo (c) Gerry Farrell 2018
In 1962 College did not open until October. A quick few sorties in the BOX and the tub pair had one ready for the wide wooden IV borrowed from Trinity. It was a beautiful pre-war boat wooden clinker with brass fittings. It was flat bottomed and the seats were offset from the centre . It was before the era of the five day week and lectures were from 9am -1pm on a Saturday morning. Practice at 2.30 on Saturday and Sunday afternoons did not furnish much time and prevented any dawdling. Austin Carty was a great Captain and organiser. Everybody got out in an VIII. By December he had four VIIIs that he took to Belfast for a Queen’s at home. On the way back the bus was in full voice singing “Kevin Barry” and the “Boys of Kilmichael” when we were stopped at the border by the “B” specials. John had a terrific task in trying to silence us. We were a lively lot with John Dowling being one of the liveliest. The Boat Club Balls were a huge College Event in those days and the 1962 Boat Club Ball had more than 500 at it.
College was tiny in those days crammed into Earlsfort Terrace . Just inside the entrance between the main door and the Porter’s lodge was the Boat Club Notice Board. It had a radiator underneath and a great meeting place for maidens. The head porter , Paddy Keogh, got to know us very well and tolerated our horse play. In Hilary term one had to check whether one was selected for the “Flippers”, “Flappers” or “Floppers”. On occasion one would see the late Seamus O’Scollain complete with his 7’ Boat Club Scarf strolling along the corridors as his class emerged from one of Jim Meenan’s. lectures. Seamus was an unsung hero in that he ensured that Ireland had large Petroleum reserves during a period the country would have been closed down without them. Austin made sure that the Maidens got many away trips including the Galway head and the Erne Head (for which Saturday lectures had to be missed). The Galway head was particularly traumatic as we had to be pulled out of a dance in Salthill before being attacked by a local crowd. We did not get out as early as was necessary as a few stragglers had to be rounded up and the bus was surrounded and terrorised for about 5 minutes.
Trinity Regatta that year was on the June Bank Holiday and our first regatta. The maidens came nowhere. A little later we travelled to Cork for three regattas, Cappoquin, Cork and Fermoy and came away with five trophies. The IV had replaced Phil Maddock who was as strong as an OX by the late Seamus McHugh from the Glenties. Seamus who had trained as a primary school teacher and not at the age of 27 was taking a degree to become a secondary school teacher transformed the crew from Novice to Senior he had such a steadying mature influence. From then on it was virtually unbeatable. It led by so much in Carlow that that we easied lengths before the finishing line and glided to victory to the music of a brass band.
Another member of the crew, Jim Gosling, influenced the shape of Dublin. He lived in an attic flat in Merrion Square and wrote continuously to the Irish Times objecting to the proposal to build a Cathedral in Merrion Square. It had been a running sore that the Church of Ireland had commandeered Dublin’s only two Cathedrals and the RC’s had only been left with a pro-Cathedral. To build a Cathedral was as imperative as making up for losing the battle of Kinsale. Jim’s task seem impossible but he persevered and won.
This year was a momentous year in the history of Ireland and the World. It was a period of intense political, social and economic change. It saw the first Bond film, Dr. No, shown in No. 85 St. Stephen’s Green. It was the era of Hatch Hall, Loreto Hall and Dominican Hall now all gone. I have just seen the “Sold” sign on Loreto hall. It was the era of the Ouzel Galley that one walked through to get the 25, 26, 66 or 67 on Ashton Quay to the Boat Club. If one was short one had to get off the bus at Booth Poole (4d) as the Boat Club was 6d. It was a great caring warm friendly club with Billy Bass repairing boats and blades with his shoe polish tin of glue sitting on his Bunsen burner, regaling us with the stories of great crews in particular the crew of 1932 that came second in the Chester Head. In lectures one dreamt of the outings to come, the splash of water at the catch and the movement of the boat. One could hear the cry of the seagulls hovering over the Corporation rubbish dumps not far from the banks. It takes a while for the happy memories to seep back. It would be nice to see many of that year again at the Centenary.
The photo above appeared in the Irish Independent on the Monday after the Dublin Head. In 1963 there was no Junior VIII as the previous year’s Maidens had all left. We started in fourth position just in front of Trinity’s Junior VIII and they finally caught us approaching O’Connell Bridge. On the road O’Connell Bridge is as wide as it is long leaving very long narrow arches on the river. I had positioned myself in the centre of the river with a dead straight course through the centre arch which is not much wider than an eight and oars. Trinity came on my outside and headed for the same arch. Two into one does not go and I was forced to swing out to my left for the wall and hope I could straighten and get an approach for the arch. It was my first time on the lower Liffey and I was terrified. We got through without a scratch. The second photo was taken on the front lawn of the old UCD Boat House.
A great night was had at the Rowing Ireland Homecoming celebration for the Rio Rowers on September 2nd. All 5 Olympians were in attendance, Gary O’Donovan (Skibbereen RC), Paul O’Donovan (UCDBC & Skibbereen RC), Sinead Lynch (St.Michael’s RC) and of course Claire Lambe and Sanita Puspure of Old Collegians Boat Club, Ireland.
The event was hosted by UCD in Belfield with about 250 in attendance including former Olympians Jaye Renehan and Martin Feely of OCBC, Pat Gannon, Sean Drea, Neville Maxwell and Niall O’Toole, plus rowers and friends from all of the Boat Clubs, as well as the University.
Speakers were Professor Andrew Deeks, President of UCD, Con Cronin, President of Rowing Ireland and Murrough O’Brien, President of OCBC. MC on the night was Gerry Murphy of Neptune RC.The 5 Olympians were presented with engraved silver salvers commemorating their achievements by Professor Deeks. OCBC provided the salvers.
more pictures, courtesy of Jim Heney:
The committee and members of Old Collegians Boat Club extends their deepest sympathies to the Club’s President, Murrough O’Brien, on the passing of his father Bill O’Brien, on 5th April.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.
The date for the 2016 Dublin Head of the River Race has been confirmed as Easter Saturday, March 26th.
This will be a significant weekend in Dublin, as it will see the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916, a rebellion in which the river Liffey itself played a significant, if grim, part. Crews considering visiting Dublin for our event on this week may be interested to know that there will be many events around the city this weekend, more details of which can be found here.
The Race brings crews through the centre of Dublin, and affords crews a view of the city unseen even by most Dubliners. For more information on the course, please click here.
Entries are limited 30 boats, with Eights being the only boat eligible to compete. Considering the year that it is, we expect all the slots to be taken up early this year.
A small number of boats can be made available to crews from overseas looking to compete – any overseas crews which are interested in participating, are asked to send an email expressing interest to HonSecretary@oldcollegians.ie.
Last chance to buy a ticket for the Old Collegians Annual Dinner, taking place at 8pm this Friday 20th November 2015 in The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.
To buy a ticket, click on the PayPal button below, and please repeat the process for the number of tickets required.
Dinner will be preceded by the 2015 Annual General Meeting will be held in the Strand Street Board Room of the Hotel.
The AGM is open to paid-up members of Old Collegians Boat Club, Ireland.
2015 AGM Agenda
1. Minutes of the 2014 AGM
2. Matters Arising
3. President’s Report
4. Hon. Secretary’s Report
5. Hon Treasurer’s Report
6. Captain’s Report
7. Election of Officers and Committee
8. Old Collegians Membership Policy & Fees
9. Overseas Competition Notification Requirements
9. Any Other Business
The 71st Dublin Head of the River took place on the Liffey on Saturday 7th of March. We would like to congratulate DUBC who won the Head in a time of 14 minutes and 7 seconds. Full results of the Head can be viewed by clicking here for times listed by pennant and here for results listed by overall times.
We welcomed a visiting Masters crew from Walton Rowing Club, the first overseas crew to compete in Dublin Head for some years.
We would like to thank Councillor Mannix Flynn for starting the race. Councillor Flynn is pictured below with Murrough O’Brien, President of Old Collegians Boat Club.
OCBC and UCD enjoyed a good weekend at the Champs.
Claire Lambe of OC won both the Womens Single and Lightweight Single, great performance.
The Mens Senior Comp 4X featuring Sean Jacob and Con Collis (with Commercial) also won – according to our records that’s the first Mens Pot in OC colours since 1964. Nice 50th anniversary.
Hopefully more to follow.
In the Mens Senior 4-, Sean and Con were joined by Gearoid Duane and Peter Grogan and were pipped into 2nd by NUIG / Grainne Mhaol.
Gearoid and Peter were fancied in the S2- but had to withdraw due to illness.
The event was, however won by UCD which is an excellent result.
In the Mens 1X, Paul O’Donovan of UCD had a good race and was just beaten into 2nd by 2 secs by Keohane of Lee Valley.
Turlough Hughes of UCD won the Inter 1X whilst UCDBC regained the sought after Novice VIII Pot as well as the Club VIII.
The UCD Ladies also won the Inter VIII.
The UCD/OC Comp SVIII was beaten by NUIG/Grainne Mhaol but it is a great step to have the Clubs competing together in this manner, something we have been working towards for some time.
Also at the weekend Sanita Puspure won the B Final at Lucerne, a very good result.
Finally the UCD VIII that won the Ladies Plate in 1974 had an anniversary rowover on the Sunday of HRR. Nice recognition for the lads who, word has it, enjoyed a great weekend.
Recovering from the setbacks due to illness which affected her 2013 season, Sanita Puspure continues from strength to strength, winning the B Final in Lucerne with what the Irish Times referred to as a commanding performance. Level at half way with Erichsen (the Danish Sculler, who won a silver medal at the London Olympics), Sanita pushed through for the last 500m to win by over a length ahead of Russian Levina with Denmark’s Erichsen coming in third.
A great performance by the OC sculler, according to Ireland high-performance director Morten Espersen “Sanita is not far from where the medals will be”. As ever, we wish her the very best. You can keep up to date with Sanita’s progress by following her on Twitter. In a recent post, Sanita tweeted a picture of Mother’s race at her children’s’ sports day – wouldn’t fancy anyone else’s chances!