Success came quickly for exemplary oarsman
Currach racing as a tradition in Maharees goes back generations and according to local stalwart Jackie Goodwin, Vincent Wyles - who tragically lost his life in a fishing accident last Thursday - was an exemplary role model for the sport.
"Having competing in his early teens he came back to rowing in Maharees in 2008 joining myself, Danny Scanlon and Kieran Browne and we formed a crew," said Jackie.
Success came quickly for the crew, winning the main race at the Dingle Regatta later that year and also in 2009. Vincent and his fellow crew members also proved worthy victors in Ventry Regatta in 2009 and 2010 and they went on to make their mark at all six Kerry regattas during that same period at Fenit, Baile na nGall, Brandon and Maharees.
The success enjoyed by Vincent, Danny, Kieran and Jackie soon extended beyond the county bounds as they competed in regattas in Limerick, Clare and Galway as well as representing Kerry at the All-Ireland Rowing Championships in Donegal in 2010.
One of Vincent's greatest achievements was when he, Danny and Sean Scanlon and Kieran Browne won the under-21 four hand race in Roundstone, Co. Galway in 2010.
"He had a fantastic attitude, he gave it his all. Rowing of course was in his family as his uncles, the Brownes of Maharees, were fishermen and oarsman of renown," said Jackie.
"He wanted to learn everything about the sport, to examine every detail – he was always committed to doing things the right way. Vincent was so nice and unassuming; he always a very obliging sportsman.
Vincent 'pulled' at this last regatta at the end of the season last year in Brandon and, as fate would have it, the original crew of Danny, Jackie, Kieran and Vincent got together for what was sadly to be their final race together.
Oarsmen and women from Dingle and West Kerry travelled to Castlegregory over the weekend to pay their respects. On Sunday and Monday they stood in unison and in tribute as they flanked Vincent in one of the two guards of honour present at his removal.
"Oarsmen travelled from as far as Clare to play their respects to Vincent and words of condolence were offered from oarsmen in Galway and Donegal who were also deeply saddened by Vincent's tragic loss," said Jacke.
"Vincent left a lasting impression on all of us and will treasure the memories we have of him around the pier during the summer."