Resting on one’s oars: Garda Boat Club marks big wins

Islandbridge event recalls club’s prestigious win at Henley Royal Regatta in 1975

 

The Garda Boat Club marked a series of significant anniversaries at its annual rowing championships over the weekend.

Although founded in 1954, it was 1955 before the club put its first boat in the water – and its first win in competition that year was recalled at the Islandbridge event.

Tom Casey (83), from the 1955 team, recalled how they won the junior championship that year. This proved the making of the club, which has gone on to score some notable successes over the years.

“I was stationed in Dublin and I didn’t know one end of the boat from the other. I knew nothing about rowing – none of us did – but through sheer strength and brute ignorance we made a go of it.

“We won the junior championship in only our second time rowing and it proved a solid foundation for the club,” said Mr Casey, who was born in New York but grew up in Tournafulla in west Limerick.

Pat Millea (74), a member of the 1965 group honoured for becoming the first Garda crew to win the National Senior VIII Championship, recalled how they captured the title on Blessington Lake.

“I was a member of the junior team. We had won the Leander Trophy down in Cork the week before, but that day we went out against our own senior crew in Blessington and we won.

“There was a great rivalry with the senior crew but there was a great friendship as well, and of course the friendships are enduring – they never go away,” said Mr Millea, a native of Ballyhale in Co Kilkenny.

Also honoured on the night was arguably the most successful Garda crew ever – the 1975 team that won international regattas in Ghent in Belgium and Nottingham before their greatest triumph.

Willie Ryan (61), from Darrara near Clonakilty in west Cork, recalled how they came through an international field of 32 entrants to win the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames in July 1975.

“We rowed in Henley in 1974 and got to the semi-final before we were beaten, but we went back in 1975 with the same team and we won the first four races as the field was whittled down from 32.

“We were up against Quintin from London in the final and it was tight enough, but we won by a length – that was probably the most prestigious win ever by the club so it was great to be involved.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.