Wicklow

| 24.5°C Dublin

A magical weekend for Wicklow RC

Close

Senior men’s crew: Chris Dunne, Peter Doyle, David Hussey, Shay Dunne, and Andrew Breen.

Senior men’s crew: Chris Dunne, Peter Doyle, David Hussey, Shay Dunne, and Andrew Breen.

Junior women’s crew: Ella Murphy, Bernice Dunne, John Healy, Val Smithers Scanlan, and Paula Keating.

Junior women’s crew: Ella Murphy, Bernice Dunne, John Healy, Val Smithers Scanlan, and Paula Keating.

Senior mixed crew: Moe Sheehy, Calum Doyle, Peter Doyle, Clare Alexander, and Susan Doyle.

Senior mixed crew: Moe Sheehy, Calum Doyle, Peter Doyle, Clare Alexander, and Susan Doyle.

Under-14 girls crew: Chloe McEvoy, Kaelin Scanlan, Shay Dunne, Katie Dunne, and Ella Murphy.

Under-14 girls crew: Chloe McEvoy, Kaelin Scanlan, Shay Dunne, Katie Dunne, and Ella Murphy.

/

Senior men’s crew: Chris Dunne, Peter Doyle, David Hussey, Shay Dunne, and Andrew Breen.

braypeople

Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy may have taken the Olympic gold medal back to Skibbereen this summer, but for the first time in a quarter of a century, the All-Ireland coastal championship has left the Rebel stronghold.

On a momentous weekend for rowing in the county, it was a crew of Wicklow rowers that claimed the blue ribband event and brought it back to Wicklow Town. It was a fitting conclusion to an uber successful weekend for Garden rowing, with a plethora of gold medals having been brought home from the 2021 Irish Coastal Rowing Championships.

The National Rowing Centre, in County Cork, was the venue for the championships that ran over the weekend. Wicklow Rowing Club competed in in ten different race categories over the two days.

The first crew on the water was the senior mixed of Peter Doyle, Moe Sheehy, Susan Doyle, Claire Alexander (Killorglin RC), and Calum Doyle cox. The five-person crew got Wicklow underway in fine fashion by taking a slight lead in the final turn and bringing home the first gold medal of the championships and Wicklow’s first.

This is Wicklow Newsletter

The local stories that matter in the Garden County, delivered directly to your inbox every week

This field is required

It got even better in the second race, in which Wicklow put out their pre-veteran men’s crew of Having previously won this race in 2019, they were determined to retain their trophy. They did just that; maintaining their lead by a length up to the first set of turns and then motoring away and leaving the rest of the boats in their wake and winning the race comfortably. Two golds down and it was only 11am.

Wicklow had six crews ready to race in the skiff against the Slaney Cots and Kerry longboats over the afternoon. First up were the under-16 boys of Adam Kelly, Jack Keogh, PJ Jameson, Adam Byrne, and cox John Healy. This was a tough race for the boys but, while the Kerry crew came out on top and took home the gold, Wicklow did well to win the silver that they were happy with because they knew they had another chance at gold on Sunday in the under-18 traditional.

It was the turn next of the under-14 girls of Kaelin Scanlan, Chloe McEvoy, Ella Murphy, Katie Dunne, and cox Shay Dunne. It was this crew’s first time at a championship, and they did themselves and the club proud bringing home the bronze medal.

Next, it was the turn of the women in the junior category, in which there was a very unique, familial dimension to Wicklow’s exploits. The original crew was made up of Paula Keating, Bernice Dunne, Samantha Dunne, Val Smithers Scanlan, and cox John Healy. Unfortunately, Samantha was feeling ill and had to be replaced by Ella Murphy, who is Bernice’s daughter. The girls put in a great performance; leading for most of the race, only to be pipped on the line and taking home the silver medal.

The next race up was the junior men, with Jack Doyle, Connor Doyle, John Healy, John Paul Dunne, and Calum Doyle cox representing Wicklow. This race was going to be a battle between the east coast skiffs of the Wexford Cots and the Kerry Longboats, and with that in mind, the Wicklow knew they had to get off to a quick start to keep ahead of the Kerry boats. They most certainly did exactly that, and once Calum Doyle rounded the buoy and headed for home, there was no one going to catch them or take that gold medal off them.

Their third gold medal of the championships up to that point, and far from their last.

The last two races on Saturday were the traditional senior men’s and traditional senior women’s. Due to an injury, there was a change made in the crew, with Calum Doyle replacing his brother Connor. The full crew was Jack Doyle, Johnny Dunne, John Healy, Calum Doyle, and cox Shay Dunne.

Using the same tactics as in the junior men’s race, the crew seemed to have an insurmountable lead, only for a near collision on the final turn that caused the Wicklow boat to leave its lane. This led to the team being disqualified, with the follow-up appeal agains the decision being unsuccessful.

Similar to the junior race, the senior women also boasted a significant dynamic, however unfortunate the circumstances that caused it. Due to an injury, Val Smithers Scanlan was forced to withdraw from competition, and was replaced by Chloe Keating, daughter of Paula. Because of this, the Wicklow crew – now consisting of Chloe McEvoy, Paula Keating, Bernice Dunne, Ella Murphy, and cox John Healy – was made up of a double mother-daughter team. They went into the race not expecting to medal, but after a terrific performance, they took bronze.

That brought a spectacular Saturday to an end, with Wicklow winning seven medals – three gold, two silver, and two bronze.

It would only get even better on the Sunday.

Wicklow had two races on Sunday the tradition under-18 and the fateful senior men coastal four.

The under-18s, the crew for which included Adam Kelly, Jack Keogh, PJ Jameson, Adam Byrne, and cox John Healy, lined up against the Kerry and Wexford, and when the hooter sounded, they gave it everything they had and then some. Unfortunately, after they got to the turn in the lead, they were quite literally out of sight, with those at the event relying on commentary to keep track of the race. By the time the racers reemerged into view and crossed the finish line, it was so close that it required a photo finish. After much deliberation, the official result was called out and it was another gold For Wicklow, much to the uncontainable joy of all involved.

Finally, it was time for the main event; the headline of the entire championships and a race that had not been won by a crew outside of Cork up until then: the senior men’s coastal four.

Much of the discussion and build-up before the race was centred around the question of whether the gold would end up with Passage West, Kilmacsimon, or Ring. It was less a consideration of whether it would be leaving Cork, and more of whether it would be going east or west. Some who had seen Wicklow’s performance in the pre-vet men on Saturday thought they were saving something for Sunday.

They had no idea how right they were.

At 4.30pm, the boats lined up in the water. All boats ready was the call from the starter, and then, they were off.

Kilmacsimon got off to the quickest start and took a good boat length of a lead, but this is a 2300m race and is, therefore, not won in the first 500m. By the first turn, Wicklow, who had made a steady start, were in third place, but as the race progressed, the race leaders changed from Kilmacsimon to Passage West.

Anybody who had watched O’Donovan and McCarthy meticulously manage their Olympic final and win Ireland’s first-ever rowing gold medal in Tokyo, will be familiar with what came next. As they headed to the second turn, the strength and fitness in the Wicklow boat began to tell as they took the lead.

By the time they left the turn, they had gained a two-length lead.

They powered on to the third and final turn with a sensational three-length lead and turning for home, they knew they had it. The last, momentous 500m to the line was a master class and the many months of training in Wicklow Bay finally paid off.

The crew of Peter Doyle, Andrew Breen, Chris Dunne, Shay Dunne, and David Hussey will have their names etched in history as the first crew in over 25 years to take this cup out of the southwest and back up the east coast to Wicklow.

The entire weekend was a magnificent one for the county. Two days, nine medals; five gold, two silver, and two bronze. A truly momentous weekend for the entire sport in Wicklow.


Privacy