March 2015

Remembering A Distinguished Graduate

Sat, 14 March 15 08:00

The annual St Patrick’s Day Festival celebrations kick off in Dublin this weekend with the annual Colours Boat Race between teams from UCD and Trinity College on the River Liffey.  Ladies’ and Men’s team battle over four races for bragging rights and the Sally Moorhead Trophy (Novice Women), Dan Quinn Shield (Novice Men), Corcoran Cup (Senior Women) and the Gannon Cup (Senior Men).  The Gannon Cup was introduced in 1947 to commemorate the life and achievements of a distinguished UCD oarsman and UCD Medicine graduate.

Born in Oranmore, Co. Galway, Ciarán J Gannon entered UCD Medicine in October 1933 from Clongowes Wood College.  He immediately joined the University’s Boat Club and is widely credited with the Club’s revival.  Reported as being an enthusiastic oarsman, Gannon worked tireless at his chosen sport and for his College Club both as a Junior and as a Senior oarsman.  In 1934, was a member of the Maiden Eight novice men’s team which finished that year unbeaten.  He was a member of the unbeaten 1939 Senior Men’s crew which won the senior eights’ Championship of Ireland.    

In 1937 he was elected Club Captain demonstrating his capacity as not only a rower but also as coach and club administrator.  He was re-elected captain the following year, in what proved to be a very successful year for the University College Dublin Boat Club.  The Club won the Wylie Cup for the first time as well as the Leander and Metropolitan Cups.

Dr Ciarán Gannon graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1939 and shortly afterwards went to England, where he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at the rank of Captain. He served for a time in Egypt and India, before going to Burma where as a medical officer he tended British soldiers who were fighting to prevent a Japanese invasion of India.  In 1944, at the age of 29 years, Captain Gannon died of shrapnel wounds suffered at Shark Hill on the Burma-India border.  He had just returned from leave on the morning of his death.

In 1947, in recognition of his services to rowing and to the University College Dublin Boat Club, as well as

in tribute to his fine character and personality, his former associates and friends established the Gannon Memorial Cup to perpetuate his memory by bringing to fruition the long contemplated and cherished plan for an annual race on the Liffey between University College Dublin, and Dublin University.