Rowing Ireland Homecoming celebration for the Rio Rowers in UCD


Claire Lambe, Sinead Lynch, Murrough O’Brien (OCBC), Paul O’Donovan, Sanita Puspure (photo: UCD Sport)

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.

Sanita Puspure (photo Jim Heney)

more pictures, courtesy of Jim Heney:

OCBC and UCD – Championship Update

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.

Sanita wins B Final at Lucerne: “Sanita is not far from where the medals will be”

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!

International selection for OC members and other news

Sanita Puspure has again been selected for the Ireland International team in the W1X.

Following her excellent top 10 finish at the 2012 London Olympics, Sanita suffered an injury and illness-ravaged 2013 season. She is now getting back to full fitness and is looking forward to the international regatta season.

We are also delighted that Claire Lambe who has, with the support of the Old Collegians RDF, been excelling for UCDLBC at international level in recent seasons in the LW1X has, having finished at College, made the switch across to OCBC. Claire is also in the international team and we look forward to supporting her as much as possible.

In addition Paul O’Donovan of UCDBC has been selected for the World Cup Regatta Programme. Dave Neale of OC is also competing at the very top level and is in the mix for international selection.

On the domestic front, OC’s Sean Jacob and Con Collis are both competing. Gearoid Duane and Peter Grogan who won the Big Pot for UCD with Dave and Sean are also racing a 2-

The Masters crews are looking forward to a full Regatta season with Trinity next on 19th April.

The 1987 UCDBC Gannon Cup VIII that came 2nd in a reunion rematch last year are heading further afield this season and heading for Munich Masters Regatta in July.

Old Collegians Boat Club at the 2013 FISA World Masters Regatta

Old Collegians Boat Club was well represented at the 2013 FISA World Masters Regatta which took place in Varese, Italy in September. The event attracted 3,355 athletes from 40 countries, the biggest ever entry. The club took part in C (over-43), D (over-50), E (over-55) and F (over-60) events.
Having our own boats at the event was a great advantage and credit is due to the towing party, Tom Fennessy, Paul Romeril, James Heney and Greg Hamil, who towed the boats from Dublin to Varese. The weather conditions on the homeward journey were particularly challenging. It was as a result of Tom Fennessy’s great skill and experience that the trailer and all the boats arrived back in Dublin unscathed.

Driver extraordinaire Tom Fennessy.

Given that the event was so close to one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan, it was appropriate that the OC crews turned out in style in their new Merc Partners sponsored one-piece suits.

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Ned Sullivan, Steve Wilmer and Paul Romeril on the catwalk in Varese.


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Phelim Murray sets the rhythm for OC E8+ on the way to the start.

The particularly large contingent from Ireland didn’t go unnoticed and it was the Irish impressions of the event that were quoted on the FISA web site which summed up the event:

“Amongst the competitors was a large contingent of Irish rowers who were making their annual trip to the Masters Regatta, the highlight of their season. “The standard of racing here is really high,” said Commercial Rowing Club, Dublin’s Liam Gleeson. “People often think that it’s easy to win here but it is competitive. It is not just about turning up,” he explained.
  Coming to Varese was a welcome reprieve from the rowing conditions they face in Ireland. “The weather is fantastic, there is no wind and the water is flat,” Eoin Wilson of Old Collegians Boat Club described, with crew mate Enda Bracken adding jokingly, “we’re baking in this heat!””

In spite of the heat our crews were competitive. Barry O’Connor’s insightful selections saw the OC rowers form composites with Commercial, Cappoquin and City of Derry Rowing Clubs and all of our boats were in the hunt at the finish.

Certainly composite crews and international crews are now the order of the day particularly in the eights events. It was down to an Ireland eight comprising oarsmen from Commercial Rowing Club, Belfast Boat Club, Drummoyne Boat Club, Cappoquin Boat Club and Dan Donnelly from Old Collegians to bring home a medal in the D8+ category.
The next event on the masters rowing calendar is from July 25th – 27th 2014 : 5th Euro Master Regatta Munich. Hopefully it will be a little cooler!

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The Ireland crew winners of the D8+ in Varese.

Dublin Web Summit Outing

The Liffey on Neptune Regatta Day

Old Collegians Boat Club is happy to offer those travelling to Ireland for the Dublin Web Summit the opportunity to get out for an early morning spin in a eight on the river Liffey.

This offer is open to all attendees of the Dublin Web Summit, the only stipulation is that you must have at least one year’s experience of rowing.

Who knows, we may even be able to convince the Web Summit’s Marketing & Events Consultant Niall O’Toole to come out for a spin. Niall is a former Sculling World Champion and Olympic finalist, and knows this stretch of river like to back of his hand.

Please note – this opportunity is available for a limited number, on a first come first served basis. Those interested should email the club captain James Kelly at

The Liffey at Islandbridge

Sanita Puspure in London 2012

C Final – 4th August
Sanita comfortably won the C final in the Women’s Single Sculls, almost eight seconds ahead of second placed Micheen Thornycroft. This result places Sanita 13th overall in the event. This was a a great performance to end her London Olympics – we are all very proud of her, and wish her and her family the very best for the rest of the summer. We look forward to seeing Sanita build on this performance over the coming months and years as she competes again on international waters!

Semi-final C/D – 2nd August
Sanita won her C/D semi final very comfortably this morning, coming in a clear 10 seconds ahead of the next sculler, Da Costa of Brazil. This means that she will race in the C final, in which scullers compete for the 13th-18th positions in the competition.

Looking at the times of the A/B semi finals also rowed this morning, it’s clear that on times alone, she ranks somewhere in the top 10. However as noted below, her Quarter Final was a particularly strong field, and as a result she didn’t make her way into the B final, which would have been for places 7th-12th. We wish her the very best for the C Final.

Quarter final – 31st July
Sanita put in a fine performance, narrowly missing out on progressing to the Olympic Semis. 
The first 3 home in the Quarter would go through with the Swedish and Czech scullers widely fancied to top the race having been World Champions in 2010 and 2011.

Sanita had been beaten by the American Sculler in the field earlier in the season and it was reckoned that the final qualification place would be between them, with Sanita needing to reverse the previous result.

Sanita had a fast start and was leading for quite a while, with the American back in 5th. 
The Czech sculler came through to win the race as expected but it was the US athlete who put in the best performance on the day, coming through to take 2nd at the expense of the Swedish sculler with Sanita in 4th by about 4 seconds, just missing out.

She gave it absolutely everything and it is telling that her time would have placed her 3rd in all 3 of the other Quarter Finals thereby quailfying her for the Semifinals 
(In fact she was 8 and 16 seconds faster than the 3rd place athletes in two of the other Quarters).

When Sanita looks back at the calibre of those drawn in her race and the times posted compared to the other races I am sure she will realise how well she acquitted herself. 
She did herself and us proud and hopefully she will have a real go at the C Final in which she would appear to be the stand-out athlete.

1st Round Heat – 28th July
Sanita placed third in her heat, comfortably qualifying for the quarter finals, which will take place on Tuesday 31st.


Sanita’s heat is at 1330 hrs GMT on Saturday 28th of July. Results will be posted here in due course.

A note of thanks from Sanita

There was a great response to the appeal to support Sanita in her Olympic bid. As well as donations received from members of Old Collegians, we received donations from current and previous oarsmen and oarswomen from clubs across the country. Sanita is very grateful for everyone’s assistance, and has asked that this message from her be shared.


Hi all,

I wanted to say you all a few words before leaving for London in two days’ time. Firstly I wanted to thank every one of you that have been supporting me since I joined the club, although it was only four years ago so many things have happened and changed. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that I could qualify for London Olympics in just over three and a half years from having our youngest child and that I would be preparing now for the biggest event in any athletes sporting life. I always had that feeling inside me that I was capable of achieving something more and I did not want to spend the rest of my life thinking, what if?

I was taking one step at the time and the dream kept coming closer and closer and it didn’t look so unrealistic any more. Of course there were times when it was not easy and we had to face some difficulties, but I kept saying – “If you give up on your dreams, what’s the point in doing anything in your life!”. And I guess that’s what kept me going, the Dream.

A lot of what I did and achieved would not be possible without the support from people around me and especially from Old Collegians. I want to thank Phil O’Keeffe for coaching and guiding me back in to competitive rowing, Paul Romeril for helping out with the equipment, Murrough, James, Barry for being there and supporting. There is one man that deserves a very big thanks from me and it’s John O’Keeffe, ever since I joined Old Collegians he is always been there, helping me along the way. I know there are a lot more people that I have not even met but they have been supporting me on this incredible journey and I hope to meet you all one day and thank you.

I will do the best I can in London, I will fight for every place and hopefully make you proud.

Kind Regards,