The Club instigated a ‘Return to Rowing’ initiative in August. It provided an opportunity for UCD rowing alumni to get out for recreational paddle or two over a 6 week period. As a result there are now 3 new groups actively rowing, a recent graduate mens group, a Masters mens group and a ladies group. These groups join the 3 groups that have been out rowing for the last number of years and it’s fantastic to now see 6 OCBC crews out on the water. Thanks to the UCD Clubs for support in getting these new crews out. There are already whispers of a trip to the Head of the Charles or similar in 2023…
On occasion OCBC awards Hanly Medals to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to UCD rowing. On Friday last, 27th November, Hanly medals were awarded to Aileen Crowley and Sean Jacob.
Aileen enjoyed significant success in UCD Colours at National Championship level and has had a fantastic transition to the National team, securing qualification for the 2- for the Tokyo Olympics and recently winning bronze at the European Championships.
Sean took up rowing at UCD and was Mens Captain in 1993/94. He won an Inter VIII and a Gannon Cup in his undergraduate years before moving on to become one of the most successful rowers at National Championship level (21 titles to date). He also represented Ireland at World Cup and World Championship level and was a finalist in the Diamonds at HRR in OC colours.
Sean made a massive impact on UCDBC on re-joining as a Post Grad in 2009 and was instrumental in the Club winning the Men’s Senior VIII National Championship for the first time in 37 years in 2011. He continues to contribute greatly to UCD rowing in a coaching capacity.
Congratulations to Aileen & Sean from your friends and Clubmates in OC.
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.
Gary and Paul O’Donovan (photo Jim Heney)
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.
Claire Lambe (photo Jim Heney)
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.
The river Liffey and O’Connell Bridge in 1916 (picture shows the damage to buildings incurred during the Rising)
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.
crews gathering for the start of the 2014 Head of the River Race