Hanly Medals 2020 Awardees

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.

1962-63 – notes on the season


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.

Jim Heney

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.

A tribute to our friend, James Mangan RIP, from the Inter Crew of 1998


James (pictured in stroke above) rowed for UCD from 1997-1999 and again in 2001. During his time rowing with UCD he won the Inter VIII National Championships in 1998 and the Gannon Cup in 2001. He hailed from Killarney and his home club was Muckross, and whilst he had success with UCD, he was first and foremost a Muckross man. He enjoyed great success in the Muckross colours winning the Novice Sculls Championship in 1999 and the Senior Coxed Four in 2000. He also won a Henley medal with Commercial in 2003 competing in the The Men’s Quadruple Sculls. So it’s true to say that wherever James rowed, success quickly followed.

James achieved so much because he was a man of integrity – a man who put his all into every stroke. And by his all we mean more than mere grit, determination and athleticism; for James, rowing was about winning and winning meant doing everything possible to achieve the best boat speed. He was exacting in his approach to racing; to training and the ‘honest’ appraisals he gave us, his crewmates. As an architect, James understood how the devil is often in the details. To us, James was more of a divil for the details.

In saying this, there was nothing too refined or regal in the way our friend from the Kingdom carried himself outside our boat. ‘Colourful’ is perhaps the best word for him. He was also truly unconventional, unpredictable and very entertaining to be around.


He was constantly snacking – and when he was trying to make lightweight we took great enjoyment in catching him surreptitiously tucking into cornflakes (see above), bread and jam, and any other treat he could get his hands on. As we recalled, during those ‘middle-weight’ years, whenever anyone asked him what weight he was he would always quip, “the same as Johnny (Devitt)”.

He was a lovable rogue who got away with his eccentricities. He was always late and always had an excuse – and we were always ready to make allowances for him. He was a scruffy sight; we reckon he only ever bought one one-piece for any club he represented and wore them until they were thread-bare. This habit earned him further renown as well as the affectionate moniker, “Manky”.


A great tale that surfaced over the last few days highlights the rogue in James. James McCullough recalled the following story about one particularly tough session with John Holland at Blesso: “We were in the quad, we were taking our 3 minute rest between 6 minute pieces, and with about 30 seconds left, James started telling John an entirely fabricated story about a man who lived in a house nearby and who picked potatoes as a pastime. By the time John copped the ruse, the 3 minute break grew to 4 at least. I found it funny and was grateful for the rest.”

His colourful nature, his unpredictability and his disregard for convention made him, his work and his passions eclectic and interesting.

He fell in love with swing dancing and travelled to Scandinavia and Argentina to perfect his skills. He was an ambassador for swing and tango and was always happy trying to convert any of us he could to its many attractions. He built a worldwide circle of friends who shared his passion and we followed him vicariously (on Facebook) as he wandered the globe in a flurry of dance. It was put to me, and it is hard to argue, that he was unquestionably the best dancer UCDBC ever had in its ranks. He also knew how to throw a mean party.


While in college during the summer of 1998 he worked with James McCullough as a bike courier. This tale sums him up beautifully – “He was crap, never knew where he was going, got lost every day, kept forgetting pick ups or drop offs, and was always letting his radio run out of battery. He couldn’t have made enough money to pay for lunch most days”. And yet he did. And he got away with it all too.

Most recently James ran ‘Hyde Park Hounds’, a dog walking company in London. No surprises there. So I guess we can add best dog walker that UCDBC ever had in its ranks to his lengthy list of titles.

He was a nonconformist who was the perfect fit for our crew and we loved having him on-board. Above all, James was a man who had the courage to be himself. He will be missed dearly and the world is a little greyer in his absence.

May he rest in peace,

Ad astra.

Muckross Rowing Club have a fitting tribute to James which is well worth a read – http://www.muckrossrowingclub.ie/


Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below



A couple of photos received from Des Harrold from 1973

Outstanding National Championships for UCD Rowing

UCDBC – Irish National Champion VIII

In a glorious weekend for UCD rowing, the club captured 6 National Titles to make it one of it’s most successful years ever. The trend was set on the first day with a great win in the Intermediate 4+ (Peter Grogan, Colm Pierce, Simon Craven and Emmett Feeley).


This was followed by a brilliant win in the Sen 4- over NUIG/Grainne Mhaoil to reverse the result of the Henley clash a few weeks earlier. (Sean Jacob, Gearoid Duane, Finbar Manning and David Neale).

Not to be outdone, Anthony English finished the day with a great win in the Lwt Sculls. On day 2 the success continued with a fine win by Anthony English in Intermediate Sculls.

Following excellent racing conditions on Thursday and Friday, Saturday saw rain and most notably a strong tailwind, which does not tend to favour big, heavy crews such as UCD.
However, the crew were never deflected from the task at hand. They led from the start and pushed further ahead at 500m opening up a ½ length lead. NUIG slipped back at this stage. At the half way UCD were ¾ of a length in the lead and held this position for the remainder of the race. Queens couldn’t live with UCD’s power and speed and fell back. While NUIG took up the challenge again, they were not able to make much of an impression on UCD who went on to win in a time of 5:39 some 3 seconds ahead of NUIG, 6 seconds ahead of Queens and 29 seconds ahead of Trinity.

The Senior Men’s VIII crew: stroke Tom Doyle, Gearoid Duane, Sean Jacob, Finbar Manning, David Neale, Colm Pierce (captain), Peter Grogan, Simon Craven, cox Jennie Lynch, and coach Pat McDonagh.

the victorious UCBLBC Senior VIII

The Senior Women’s VIII proved to be a tighter race however with the Muckross team coming in closely behind.   This victory closes a particularly successful year for the women’s team. UCD’s Laura Gannon said: “We had three goals this year — colours, the university championships and national championships. To win all three is an amazing achievement and we still can’t believe it.”
The Women’s VIII crew: C Tanner, Karen Joy, Claire Ni Reachtagain, Naomi Fearon, Siofra Bennett, Laura Gannon, Laura Reid, A Gilligan and cox Eoin Craven.

Congratulations to all of the crews and coaches and committee members who have have been building up to this over the last 4 years.

(with thanks to UCD.IE for some of the above text)

1969 Crew Reunion

Padraic O’Neill writes……………

Yes, we had a great day at Islandbridge and in Ryans and Peploes later. We got the eight on the river, paddled up and down a couple of times without losing anybody! Spouses and partners were in attendance and enjoyed the experience.

The shirts looked good!!!



UCDBC & the 1948 London Olympics

Morgan McElligott sent us a nice piece describing the run up to the 1948 Olympic Games and the problems encountered by the Irish Eight to get accepted as an All-Ireland crew. Morgan rowed in the eight along with 4 other UCD oarsmen. The cox was also from UCD. After a lot of politicking, the crew was allowed to row, and rowing became the first sport to participate on an All-Ireland basis in the Olympic Games. Click below to get more …..

2004 UCD and 1948 Olympics