UCD Boat Club


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UCD Boat Club News

Closing date for UCD Rowing Sports Scholarships is FRIDAY 29th APRIL. Further details below.

Calls for 2011/2012 UCD Rowing Sports Scholarships now OPEN:
UCD Boat Club is accepting applications for Sports Scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. The closing date for applications is FRIDAY 29th APRIL. You can find some general information about the scholarships here, the application form is available here, and if you require further information, please don't hesitate to contact Club Captain: Colm Pierce, Tel: +353 86 0874913, Email: piercelad@gmail.com.

Gannon Cup/Dan Quinn Shield 2011
The Gannon Cup is unlike any other race on the rowing calendar, and perhaps it is this peculiarity which lends the event its enduring allure. The winding course, which requires coxswains to manoeuver their craft through the arches of the Liffey's many bridges, is as much a participant in the race as the competing crews. Vagaries in conditions can render still waters almost unrowable in a matter of minutes, before once again reverting to their Lernaean calm. Come race day crowds which comprise of anyone from indifferent passers by to stalwarts with decades old affiliations line the banks of the Liffey and watch the crews battle for supremacy in this old collegiate rivalry.

This year's Gannon Cup took place on the morning of St. Patrick's day. An unprecedented level of media attention surrounded the event, thanks largely to the tireless work of the club's president, Colm Daly. The race for the Dan Quinn shield was first on the agenda, at the early hour of 8:30. Despite consistent performances at senior level, UCD's first year novices have not tasted colours victory since 2008, and thus expectation weighed heavily on this year's group to break the curse of Coffey. Victory was far from a certainty, however, as the season's head races had revealed that Trinity's freshers had formed a rather cohesive unit. At a moment which will perhaps forever remain the zenith of their rowing related nervousness, UCD's novices awaited the drop of the umpires flag at O'Connell bridge, their rivals no less awed on the north station. Any fears of failure were allayed almost immediately, as UCD left the stake boat efficiently, and in doing so, took a half a length. From that point forth the race became an exercise in extending that lead, a task which the novices took on with great alacrity, eventually cruising home over four lengths the better of their opponents.

With the Dan Quinn shield's place in UCD's trophy cabinet assured, attention turned to the senior race, and the prospect of claiming a forth Gannon cup victory in as many years. Having deftly avoided each other during the head racing season, perhaps more by accident than design, the rivalry between this year's crews was one built on YouTube videos rather than sweat and stroke rates. Nevertheless, with pride on the line, both UCD and Trinity were keen to put in a strong performance. UCD acknowledged their status as strong favourites, but they did not allow this to distract from the task at hand. The Liffey's petulant waters, however, did not wish to have their supreme authority challenged, even by a 63 year old tradition, and decided to throw a minor fit of pique as the race began. The turbulence of the river disrupted both crews but, perhaps with less elegance and gentility than they would have wished, UCD managed to muscle their way into an early lead. The Liffey did not yield one jot however, and through the middle of the course it replied to each stroke with a barrage of white water. Eventually the conditions calmed somewhat, by which point the gap between the crews had grown appreciably. Becoming more fluid with each stroke, UCD began to row with the efficiency that the previous weeks training had seen, and soon they would reach the finish line, a comfortable victory their efforts' reward.

Once the day's racing had ended the senior crew were treated to a televised ceremony in front of the GPO, acknowledging their victory, after which the parents and members of all crews enjoyed a meal at the Clarence hotel. Once again, thanks goes to Colm Daly for his efforts in organising much of the days activities.

UCD's oarsmen must now focus on the upcoming University Championships, which shall take place on the 9th of April at the national rowing centre in Cork. The hour is ripe, and yonder lies the way.

2011 Gannon Cup:
The annual Colours Races against Dublin University will be held on the morning of St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. It will run on the traditional course from O'Connell Bridge to the Guinness Gates. We hope you can come down and support our crews. Further details of the race arrangements and times, reception and crews are available on www.gannoncup.com.


A training diary from Philip Staunton, one of this year's novices about the run-in to the big day can be read here.

Season Update 31st of January 2011:
With the winter darkness at its most oppressive, UCD boat club’s second novices, inters and seniors traveled to Seville for the now annual winter training camp. The vast, still waters of the Guadalquivir were a welcome change to the freezing, angst inducing expeditions to Blessington which, in early January at least, beggar anything Ernest Shackleton attempted. The world class facilities in Seville allowed all crews to focus on technical efficiency and aerobic fitness without the familiar impediments of choppy waters and frost bite. As ever, everyone who attended the camp made a great many improvements to their technique, and the club has benefitted greatly from the endeavour.

Just as Sisyphus watched his boulder roll to the bottom of his hill, UCDBC took the waters of the Shannon to mark the commencement of the 2011 racing season. Despite the enormous celebrations which had been organised to mark the event's centenary of cancellations, St. Micheal’s head of the river actually took place this year, unmolested by the impediments which have disrupted previous efforts, namely fog, low water levels and roaming bands of cross-dressing cannibals. A full compliment of UCD oarsmen turned out for the event, with the club competing at Novice, Intermediate and Senior and across a variety of boat classes. First to sample the delicious buffet of lactic acid and melancholy were the senior coxless four, which comprised of Sean Jacob, Finbar Manning, Ger Burns and David Neale. Rowing with all the aplomb of cleaver wielding clown charging through the glinting moonlight of a deserted copse at midnight, they completed the course in 10 minutes and 41 seconds. Unfortunately, this was not quite good enough to eclipse N.U.I.G.'s entry, who won the category, but nevertheless it was an impressive time. The intermediate coxless four's efforts were insufficient to propel their craft at a velocity which could match that of the taller, more attractive, seniors but none the less they rowed a good race. However, despite their efforts, they too were denied a chance to suckle at the teats of Nike.

There was marginally more success for the UCDBC's eights. The intermediates managed to prize victory from the ravenous hands of their N.U.I.G. counterparts, despite being less than pleased with their performance. UCD's second novices were beaten into second place by U.C.C. The club's first year novices lost their racing virginity at the venue, and many were left in a similar condition as if it was their sexual virginity which had been surrendered: unsatisfied, slightly bemused, and bleeding profusely. Nevertheless, they rowed with enthusiasm, and it appears that the squad has sufficient depth to form a crew which will be a formidable foe in the fight for the Dan Quinn shield, and beyond. UCD's senior eight was disqualified for failing to secure the correct racing number, an error which threatened to destroy not only the event's meticulously planned order, but could also have corrupted the human race as a species. The race official's refusal to time their progress over the course seems a mild punishment for a transgression of such magnitude, and UCD's senior eight can count themselves rather lucky.

So, in the unprecedented position of having raced St. Michael's head, UCDBC's oarsmen will continue to excruciate themselves upon the erg, in the boat and under plate loaded barbells in their never-ending quest for rowing perfection. Haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Neptune H.o.R. 2010

Neath skies of crystal, stone and shale
Stood our heroes, cold and pale
Warmed not yet by that sacred thing
The busted, blasted Ding-a-Ling
Upon the clocks their eyes did fall
The shadows in their minds still tall
The past more real than time's slow crawl
A seperate dream for one and all
Black and white and long and thin
One by one the boats go in
All with goals and things to win
To give up now: the one true sin
And so they walk towards the drink
Souls of passion, purple, pink
Nothing yet to do but think
Their craft above them, dark black ink
And suddenly the feel it now
Lining up from stroke to bow
Shrill yet silent like the Tao
A gift which no God can endow
Towards the crowd they now progress
No sign of worry, fear or stress
Knowing soon again they'll bring
All the might of Ding-a-Ling !
A moment's quiet fore the storm
In their minds their quest takes form
Just seconds now until it's born
The veil of silence frayed, then torn
As an Eagle takes to wing
So to life the craft did spring
And someone heard a Seraph sing
Roll on, the mighty Ding-a-Ling!
Before them waves all black and bitter
Enough to make Poseidon titter
Pregnant clouds obscured sun's glitter
And not a single bird did twitter
Forward, forward, on they went
Not an ounce of strength misspent
Forward on without relent
Leaving nothing to repent
Their fluid rhythm was maintained
While all around them tumult reigned
And every movement was restrained
Their faces not the least bit pained
God of Land, God of Sea
God of muscle, bone and knee
God of every blasted thing
But not the God of Ding-a-Ling!
Faster still without respite
The finish line is now in sight
Surging forth with all their might
Not an inch to left of right
Nothing their path could impede
And so by all it was agreed
That no one other did exceed
The Ding-a-Ling's most rousing deed
Once the last stroke had been taken
Back to sleep, that beast awakened
But soon again the air will ring
With all sounds of Ding-a-Ling!

Gala Day:
The club's annual Gala Day is taking place at the boathouse this Saturday, 2nd October, kicking off with a mini-triathlon organized for the morning at 9am - 4km erg, 25km cycle and 7km run. Pat Gannon can provide details of event if required. See you there!

Alumni Fund Donations:
Once again, we are asking alumni of the boat club to consider signing up to, or renewing their donations to the club's Alumni Fund. In the past, the fund has been used to supplement the income of the club to facilitate equipment and boat upgrades, as well as subsidise the increasingly expensive trips abroad to race in events such as Henley Royal Regatta and London's Head of the River. Donations qualify for tax relief, and the details of the scheme can be found in the following links. As ever, your contributions are hugely appreciated by the club and we hope that with your support, we can build on last year's successes.

Rowing Ireland Small Boat National Championships:
Last weekend, UCD travelled to Cork in small numbers for the last event and second National Championships of the revamped Rowing Ireland season - the small boat National Championships. Despite the small representation, it was a successful weekend for the club with UCD Elite Athlete Academy's Sean Jacob winning the Senior 1x and Senior 2- (in a composite with NUIG's Cormac Folan) National Championships and Turlough Hughes, a new UCD Sports Scholar, also winning the J18 1x representing his secondary school, King's Hospital BC. The 09/10 Rowing Grand League results were also published, with UCDBC finishing 6th overall and as the best placed university rowing team, behind overall winners Skibbereen RC.

2010/2011 Squad Signup Form:
Anyone wishing to row with UCDBC this year must fill in the following form.


New Boathouse Security System
From October 1st, access to the boat house will be through an electronic access system. Key fobs will be issued to registered members upon payment of a deposit of 15 euro, which will be reimbursed when the key fobs are returned. You may apply for a key fob through the following PayPal link. Following this, a fob will be posted to your address. All queries on this new system should be sent to J Brooke, jdabrooke@gmail.com.

Henley Victory, July 4th 2010.

Henley 2 

UCD’s coxed four of Tom Doyle, Finbar Manning, Colm Pierce, Dave Neale and Jennie Lynch beat Bristol University by two lengths this morning to complete their victorious Prince Albert Challenge Cup campaign, bringing Henley success to UCD for the first time in thirty-six years.

Henley is unlike any other regatta in the world. Hardened international oarsmen speak of the proximity and noise of the crowd, the idiosyncrasies of the river and the unique atmosphere which pervades the event. Crews from all corners of the globe descend on the town every July in the hope of winning a Henley medal. Victory at Henley, therefore, is not only an illustrious prize, but also a hard earned one. Many crews travel to the event brimming with seemingly well founded confidence, confidence which is later revealed to be nothing more than a naïve delusion in this fiercely competitive and uncompromising arena. Indeed many a skilled oarsman has toiled for the duration of his rowing careers in pursuit of Henley victory, and for the majority this goal goes unattained.

Despite promising results in the weeks leading up to Henley, UCD’s entry went unseeded. Nevertheless, their campaign got off to an encouraging start with a comfortable victory over Brookes ‘B’. From that point forth, however, there would be no let up. In the second round UCD faced Goldie Boat Club, a selected crew. The Cambridge University crew took an early lead, which they maintained until beyond the Fawley, where UCD showed the rest of the competition the depth of their resolve and fortitude, rowing through Goldie to claim victory by two thirds of a length. In the semi-final UCD met Harvard University, another selected crew. It was an impressive display, UCD leading from the outset and holding off Harvard’s galloping stallion of a push at the halfway mark to emerge victors, again by two thirds of a length, and in doing so recorded the fastest time of the competition.

Before blade had met water on the final day of the regatta, this crew had already claimed a special place in UCD Boat Club’s history. Not since 1974, when the famed “animals” won the Ladies Plate, has a Henley final been graced with blue and saffron. However this crew’s ambitions lay beyond a mere appearance in the final round. Their rivals, University of Bristol, had impressed on the other side of the draw, knocking out a strong Yale crew, but UCD’s efforts against Goldie and Harvard had imbued them with unshakable confidence. UCD took and early lead and from that point forth victory was beyond doubt, the final margin an unequivocal two lengths.

Sport, in many ways, is a microcosm of life. It has its highs and lows, its light and dark. It too has its history, which is sprinkled with moments of true merit, shining examples to all who strive to achieve something special. UCD Boat Club’s Henley champions have claimed not only their own individual victories; they have created a piece of sporting history which will outlive all who saw it unfold: In 2010 UCD came to Henley and they won.

2009/2010 News Archive available here.