UCD Boat Club
UCD Boat Club News
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Gannon Cup/Dan Quinn Shield 2011
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:
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:
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
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Henley Victory, July 4th 2010.
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.