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Posted 19 July 2011

UCD Boat Club win Senior Men's and Women's National Rowing Championships

In an outstanding championships, UCD Boat Club swept the premier races in the 2011 National Rowing Championships which took place from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th July,  winning both the Men's and Women's Senior VIII events.

Congratulating the crews, President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, said that the victories were both well deserved and inspirational. 

The victory in the Men's VIII event was UCD's first win in the event since 1973, a 37 year wait.  Although UCD was certainly well fancied in the lead-up to the race, there was top calibre opposition in NUIG / Grainne Mhaoil and Queens University Belfast.  NUIG had won this premier event in each of the last two years and included several recent Olympians.  Queens are recent British Universities Champions.

Pictured (l-r): Tom Doyle, Gearoid Duane, Sean Jacob, Cox Jennie Lynch, Finbar Manning, David Neale, Colm Pierce (Captain), Peter Grogan, Simon Craven, Coach Pat McDonagh
Pictured (l-r): Tom Doyle, Gearoid Duane, Sean Jacob, Cox Jennie Lynch, Finbar Manning, David Neale, Colm Pierce (Captain), Peter Grogan, Simon Craven, Coach Pat McDonagh

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.   

Speaking about the win, UCD’s David Neale said: "It’s a great day for all involved as it is UCD’s first senior eights win in almost 40 years. A strong middle 500 did the damage with the fast-finishing NUIG always on our tails."

One of the most satisfying aspects of the victory is in the make-up of the crew itself which is a combination of oarsmen which includes the first rower to be selected for the UCD Elite Athlete Academy, two UCD sports scholars as well as rowers who took the sport up as students at UCD. The crew also ranged in age from students in their early 20's to a masters student aged 40.  All clear evidence of the club's ongoing policy of blending elite athletes with home-grown College talent.
The Senior Men’s VIII crew: stroke Tom Doyle, Gearoid Duane, Sean Jacob, Finbar Manning, David Neale, Colm Pierce (captain), Peter Grogan, Simon Craven and cox Jennie Lynch.   Coach Pat McDonagh has done a superb job in moulding this group of athletes.

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.

The wins in the Men's and Women’s Senior VIII events capped off a superb regatta for College.  During the preceding days, four of the Senior Men's crew, Sean Jacob, Gearoid Duane, Finbar Manning and David Neale had won the Senior IV event from NUIG / Grainne Mhaoil, avenging an unfortunate defeat at Henley Regatta in June.

The Intermediate IV of Peter Grogan, Colm Pierce, Simon Craven and Emmett Feeley had an excellent heat and an even better final, winning by a length of Queens. They now graduate as intermediate oarsmen and join the senior level.

Having taken the Inter IV event, UCD's intermediate oarsmen were fancied in their VIIIs event before being disqualified prior to the race.  Unfortunately it now appears that the disqualification may have been incorrect as it appears that the 'rule' the Club was deemed to have contravened may not be an actual rule at all. The Club attempted to have the decision overturned but the authorities refused to rescind their decision in spite of what appear to be clear facts in the Club's favour.

The Intermediate Sculls was also won by UCD’s Anthony English.  Anthony took up the sport at UCD and won the Novice VIII National Championships (as stroke) in 2007 and again stroked the Intermediate VIII to victory in 2008. Anthony has been training and rowing with the Ireland squad for a large part of this season.

Since and including 2007, the Men's Club has won 16 National titles, 3 Irish university titles, 4 consecutive Gannon Cups (Dublin Intervarsity Boat Race versus Trinity) as well as the Prince Albert Trophy at Henley Regatta in 2010.  The winning of the Senior VIII trophy or the 'Big Pot' as it is known is the culmination of exceptionally hard work both on and off the water by oarsmen, coaches, officers and alumni.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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