Seamus McHugh RIP

Seamus McHugh Deceased ob 30.08.2012 RIP

Seamus McHugh joined UCDBC in 1962 during the brilliant Captaincy of Austin Carty.  Recruitment have been so successful that four UCD maiden VIIIs travelled to Belfast in December for a Queen’s at home in a bus driven by John Gallivan, who had a dreadful time trying to control us when the bus was stopped at 2.00 am on the way home by “B” Specials.  Later in the month Seamus McHugh and Tom Kirby won the Butler Cup with some distance to spare in a large and competitive competition.  Seamus was a primary school teacher and had become the principal of a Primary School at the age of 19.  He was then studying Arts at UCD to become a secondary teacher. He was the youngest of 10 children and had grown up in the townland of Muckross in the Glenties in West Donegal and never lost his unusually soft and musical Donegal accent.

Austin continued his great work by having 3 VIIIs in the second term.  In those days the Porter’s lodge was on the left of the entrance at Earlsfort Terrace and the UCDBC Notice Board just beside it in the most prominent position of all club notice boards.  We eagerly awaited to find out whether we were rowing with the Flippers, the Flappers or the Floppers.  As there were lectures on a Saturday morning rowing took place in the afternoon, and similarly on Sunday as everybody went to Mass in the morning, there being no evening masses at that time.    By Summer we were down to two Eights and out of them one of the best ever Maiden iVs that rowed for UCDBC emerged.  Seamus McHugh at Bow, Tom Kirby at 2, Kevin Reade at 3 and stroked by Dave Buckley.  Seamus was 27, Tom was 20, as I think was Kevin Reade and Dave Buckley was in his final year engineering.  None had ever rowed before and none were particularly “sporty”.  It would be 8 years before there would be s similarly mature Maiden Crew that would be later named the Animals.

The IV went Cork Cappoquin and Fermoy, driven by Seamus in VW Beetle and came back victorious with a clean sweep of 3 wins.  It went on to win another three races at Carlow, Athlone and Waterford.  At Carlow they were so far ahead in the final that they stopped rowing well before the finish and glided in with perfect balance to the sound of a stirring Brass Band amidst glorious sunshine and cheering spectators who had attended in great numbers.

May he have glided into Heaven to the heavenly sound of Angels as he did on that magical day in June, 1963.

James Heney

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