Your Guide to Rowing Events This Year

Here is an easy-to-use guide to the scheduled rowing fixtures this year – from Coastal and Offshore to River Rowing; from Irish and international events to Henley Royal Regatta, at which Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy had a magnificent win in 2021.

 Best wishes to all rowers in the year ahead.  

Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe Elected to OFI Athletes’ Commision

A new Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission has been elected by Irish Olympians. The impressive list of athletes includes Olympic silver medallist in sailing, Annalise Murphy and two-time Olympic bronze medallist in boxing Paddy Barnes, as well as multiple World and European Champion in rowing, Sanita Puspure.

 The line-up boasts years of experience and a wide variety of skills and motivations, with five of the members being three time Olympians, including Natalya Coyle (Modern Pentathlon) and Brendan Boyce (Athletics). Olympic finalist Claire Lambe (Rowing) also joins the commission along with returning Athletes’ Commission members Shane O’Connor (Alpine Skiing) and David Harte (Hockey). This term runs until the end of the next Summer Olympics which take place in Paris 2024.

 

The members of the OFI Athletes’ Commission for the 2022-2024 term are as follows:

FIRST NAME

SURNAME

SPORT

Brendan

Boyce

Athletics

Paddy

Barnes

Boxing

David

Harte

Hockey

Natalya

Coyle

Modern Pentathlon

Claire

Lambe

Rowing

Sanita

Puspure

Rowing

Annalise

Murphy

Sailing

Shane

O’Connor

Snowsports

 

The recruitment process saw thirteen applicants run as candidates in the election. All Irish Olympians were eligible to vote in an online platform. In line with the regulations and requirement to have at least one winter sport athlete, Shane O’Connor, the sole winter sport candidate was automatically selected to the commission. The regulations made allowance for a minimum gender balance of 40%. However it was not necessary to invoke any of these mechanisms as the election produced a naturally occurring 50/50 gender balance.

 

Sarah Keane, President of the Olympic Federation of Ireland congratulated the successful candidates, thanking all the athletes who applied,

 

“Congratulations to all the successful candidates who have now become members of the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission. We are confident that the athlete voice will be represented well and that you will continue to drive sport forward, each of you bringing with you a wealth of experience.

 

“I also want to thank the outgoing Athletes’ Commission who have worked really hard in important areas in sport, from athlete welfare and representation on decision making groups, to driving initiatives that Irish athletes wanted to back, such as Anti-Doping and tackling racism and discrimination. You have given this new commission a very solid point from which they can start.”

 

The outgoing OFI Athletes’ Commission was appointed in 2017, and consisted of Shane O’Connor (Chair), Gavin Noble (Vice Chair), David Harte (also a member of the EOC Athletes’ Commission), David Gillick (also an athlete representative in Sport Ireland Anti-Doping initiatives), Kenneth Egan, James Nolan, Melanie Nocher and Judy Reynolds.

 

Over the coming weeks the new OFI Athletes’ Commission will meet informally, in a virtual setting, and will hold its first official meeting soon after.

Lambe and Puspure Contend for OFI Places

Rowers Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe (pictured), along with Hannah Craig from canoeing are part of an impressive list of 13 candidates across 10 sports nominated to run for election for the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission.

 The recruitment process opened for the 2022-2024 term before Christmas and Olympians from any of the last four Olympic cycles, winter, or summer, were invited to apply for a position on the commission that acts as the athlete’s voice for Irish Olympic athletes. Voting opened on the 11 January and will close at 1pm on the 16 January 2022. 

 Applicants were initially requested to complete a form outlining their aims and objectives should they be elected to the OFI Athletes’ Commission and were required to be supported by either their National Federation or three Olympians. Outlining a range of aims the high caliber candidates who will run for election list among their goals athlete focused objectives such as improving athlete welfare, mental health, education and support for the athletes.

 

The list of candidates are as follows: 

 

FIRST NAME

SURNAME

SPORT

GENDER

Brendan

Boyce

Athletics

Male

Paddy

Barnes

Boxing

Male

Hannah

Craig

Canoeing

Female

David 

Harte

Hockey

Male

Natalya

Coyle

Modern Pentathlon

Female

Claire

Lambe

Rowing

Female

Sanita 

Puspure

Rowing

Female

Billy

Dardis

Rugby

Male

Ian

Fitzpatrick

Rugby

Male

Annalise

Murphy

Sailing

Female

Shane

O’Connor

Snowsports

Male

Grainne

Murphy

Swimming

Female

Nicholas

Quinn

Swimming

Male

 

 

 The current Athletes’ Commission was established in June 2017, with the aim of ensuring that the athlete’s voice is heard across all levels of Olympic sport in Ireland. Their strategy outlines a vision for Ireland to be the best country in the world to be an Olympian or aspiring Olympic athlete. 

 

 Seven people will be elected from the list of candidates, with Shane O’Connor deemed selected to the Athletes’ Commission, being an automatic selection as the sole nomination from the winter sports. Both genders will be represented in line with the OFI’s gender balance policy of 40 per cent. The successful members will be elected to the OFI Athletes’ Commission and will remain in office until late 2024.

 

Irish In Good Spirits at Christmas in Atlantic Challenge

Wild Waves, one of the two boats rowing under the Irish tricolour and Union flag, has been performing well in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The Wild Waves crew of Jessica Oliver and Charlotte Harris covered 58 nautical miles in the 24 hours to midday on St Stephen’s Day. They stand second in the race pair and 5th of the female crews in the race from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

 Tideway Odyssey, with Victoria Carroll (in bow in the picture) and Saf Greenwood sit eighth in race pair and sixth in female class. Early on in the race they struggled with seasickness and found it difficult in the calm seas, but have been progressing better, and posted a cheery video in Santa hats on Instagram on Christmas Day.

 The race started out from La Gomera on December 11th and the big flotilla of crews aims to cover the 3,000 mile (4,8000 km) course. Both Wild Waves and Tideway Odyssey are racing for charities.

Dominic Casey: Hard Work, Drive and an Openness to Change

I had a chat about coaching recently with a friend. His underage camogie team had planned a ‘secret Santa’ on their own. Over 30 girls were involved and every one of them got a present.  

 My friend was clearly doing something right: his charges had taken the initiative. Team spirit was strong, they were prepared to work – and it was fun.

 When he was given his award as Manager of the Year at the RTÉ awards ceremony on Saturday night, Dominic Casey spoke about there being no secret, that it was about hard work.

 The Skibbereen man does not like these events. His energy and drive – and his impish side – do not come through. And good coaching is a symbiotic relationship; coaches and athletes learn together.

 Learning and coaching are wound around each other in Dominic’s story.

 Paul O’Donovan expounded at length on this before Tokyo 2020, where he and Fintan McCarthy would go on to win gold.

 He spoke about Skibbereen Rowing Club, its successes and its part in the rise of rowing in this country. Casey was first a rower and then a guide as rowers grew in skill and ambition.

 “I suppose from early on Dominic had been competing himself, and then he had guys winning national championships and then junior World Championships and on to Under-23 [Championships] and senior World Championships. Then [there were] guys who were spare men for the Olympics and making the Olympic team and Olympic finals – and winning World Championship medals.

 “All the while there is this consistency in Dominic, who is able to see all they were doing. They were telling him what they thought was good and bad and he refined what he was doing in Skibbereen.

 “For a while then it was just on an upward trajectory and being refined all along the way.

 “You could say, ultimately, it ended with myself and Gary doing what we did in Brazil there five years ago. And then there were more athletes all around Ireland. There are plenty more on the team. They are not just from Skibbereen these days. There are a whole load of other clubs all around the country that are involved. I suppose they took a bit of belief from what myself and Gary did. They have seen us at the training centre day-in and day-out and they were able to replicate that.”

 Like so many successful people, Dominic Casey combines things that can be seen as opposites: hard work, an iron will and an openness to change.

Coach Casey: The International Statistics 

Olympic Games

1 Gold

1 Silver

1 8th place

World Championships and European Championships (Including Under-23)

18 medals

World Cup Regattas

13 medals

 

 

 

Money Flows In for Deserving All-In-A-Row Charities

The All In A Row event on the Liffey in Dublin was a success and donations continue to flow in for the two charities backed by the day of activities. Our picture gives a flavour of the activities and the fun.

 The Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit is an unheralded charity which does unseen work in recovering the bodies of those lost in water and bringing them home to their families and friends.

 The RNLI saves lives at sea in Britain and Ireland. It is backed very strongly by British donations and is very grateful for money raised in Ireland.

 The All In A Row day hopes to raise €20,000 for the two charities. Donations to All In a Row can be made through their GoFundMe page:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/all-in-a-row-2021/donate

Aifric Keogh: The Lows and Highs of an Olympic Medallist

Aifric Keogh (Trinity interview)

As this memorable year for Irish rowing draws to a close, here is a chance to see and listen to Aifric Keogh, one of the Ireland women’s four which medalled at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

 As part of the Trinity Business School Forum, Keogh spoke to Liam Gorman in a ‘Fireside Chat’. The Galway woman is a fascinating talker. She discusses the range of challenges she faced, including the illness which almost ended her rowing career in 2019.

 She talks about the bond between herself, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty, which was built out of fierce competition. And she explores what drives her – she always wants to be better than her previous best – and why she is targeting Paris 2024: “I think we left that gold medal behind us.”

 If you are interested in top-class sport, it is well worth making time for this encounter.

 

Rowing A Long Way Behind Big Sports in New Support Funding

Gaelic Games, Rugby and Soccer are the big beneficiaries of a new support scheme for sport in this country. They have been voted €57,000,000. Rowing benefits to the tune of €185,000. The figures are given in the table at the bottom of this post.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, and Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers T.D, together with Sport Ireland, have announced almost €80m for the sport sector under two separate support programmes.

Some €73.6m in Covid funding is being allocated under five separate streams to help sports organisations to recover and grow post pandemic, support our grassroots network of clubs and local sports partnerships, and ensure people of all ages and abilities return to sport and physical activity.

A further €5.3m is being provided to sport National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) for the provision of sports equipment including the roll out of defibrillators for clubs, kits for school children and state of the art equipment for our high-performance athletes.

Today’s announcement follows a commitment from both Ministers of a €65 million COVID-19 investment programme. Additional investment has been provided through the 2021 Sport Ireland budget providing total COVID support of €73.617 million to the sector. The timing of the schemes provides stability and certainty to the sports sector as it emerges from the pandemic and plans for 2022.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “As a nation so fond of sports, we are very supportive of our clubs, our competitors and of course everyone who enjoys physical activity. But the last two years have been two of the most challenging for all sports organisations and the announcement of this funding will come as a relief for the sports sector. It’s important that the sport sector is on a firm financial footing. The additional funding, coupled with the increase in the budget for sport in 2022, will ensure the long-term viability of our sports organisations, high performance sport and will make sure sport remains accessible to all. These emergency funds will reach all corners of the country, a myriad of activities and ensure clubs and grassroots groups continue their great work.”

 

Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs Jack Chambers TD, added: “I welcome today’s allocations announced by Sport Ireland, which recognise the immense contribution that sport and physical activity has made to Ireland’s response to the pandemic. All facets of society continue to adjust as the public health situation evolves and our National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnership and sports clubs are to be commended on how they have adapted. Government understands that this has been challenging for all and the funding allocated today will assist the sector as it continues to play an important role in supporting all members of society getting and staying active.”

Specific investment has also been provided for the disability sport sector in line with the SportForAll initiative with, amongst others, Special Olympics Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Paralympics Ireland receiving financial support. A number of the approved equipment grants are also specifically targeted at disability sport.

This investment recognises the disproportionate and unanticipated extent of COVID-19 restrictions on their activities and the difficulties associated with a resumption and return to normal levels of activity.   

Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, commented: “Sport Ireland has engaged extensively with the sector since the onset of the pandemic to understand the pressure points and where organisations need support. This is reflected in the allocations made today by Sport Ireland, which also factor in the wider economic and social impact of sport. It was a priority of the Board of Sport Ireland that the needs of the disability sector were specifically addressed, with ring-fenced funding being allocated in the allocations. The recent budget announcement by the Ministers of an increase in the overall sports funding for 2022 has further reinforced that sense of confidence that support is available. We look forward to working with our funded bodies and a positive 2022.”

The total amount of money available is designed to protect the existing physical and operational infrastructure of Irish sport. This is in recognition that any reconstruction of Irish sport would ultimately cost more over the long run.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “While organised sport has returned in a meaningful way in recent months, the impact of the restriction of the last two years is still being felt across the sector. Indoor sports in particular have been disproportionately affected, while a large number of outdoor sports have seen their commercial programmes hit. The funding announced by Sport Ireland will alleviate the pressure on these sports and help the wider club infrastructure to sustain their commendable efforts in providing for their membership. As throughout the pandemic, Sport Ireland remains available to our national sporting organisations to provide support and guidance where necessary.” 

The COVID funding announced today is in addition to the COVID-19 contingency fund which was directed towards exceptional costs generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed for 12 months until this year. This contingency fund ensured National Governing Bodies were supported to address costs incurred that were beyond the scope of Sport Ireland’s High Performance Programme funding and other programme resources. Full details are set out in Appendix I.

In relation to the separate equipment funding, Sport Ireland was requested to identify and prioritise proposals from NGBs and LSPs which would advance the Government’s National Sports Policy with a focus on the areas of participation, inclusion, female involvement in sport and delivery of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032.

Following completion of their assessment process, Sport Ireland recommended grants totalling €5.3m broken down as follows:

  • €3.4m to support NGBs further advance participation opportunities;
  • €1.4m to support NGBs advance the strategic objectives of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy; and
  • €0.5m to Local Sports Partnerships to advance participation and physical opportunities at a community level.

Full details of these equipment grants are shown in Appendix II.

 

 

Appendix I – COVID Supports

 

Scheme One – IRFU, FAI, GAA

This specific fund was created in recognition of the particular operational challenges facing the three largest field sports. These organisations’ ability to generate commercial income continued to be severely disrupted throughout 2021.

 

Scheme Two – NGB Resilience Fund

Broadly, the allocations cover the loss of income from events, ticket sales, sponsorship, affiliation & membership fees, courses, services and the additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols. It is acknowledged that indoor sports and Governing Bodies who are more reliant on commercial activity and have more diverse streams of income will require greater support.

 

Scheme Three – Club Resilience Fund

A large number of the challenges faced by Governing Bodies are replicated across their Club network with income from affiliation & membership fees, events, competition, coaching courses and ancillary services all reduced. The additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols has also had a significant impact on Club activities where the sharing of equipment, facilities and resources is common place.  In addition, there are a number of Governing Bodies whose network of Clubs consist of commercial organisations operating out of dedicated facilities with full time staff and strong annual turnovers. Such organisations are more reliant on membership, competition and coaching revenues as well as income from ancillary sporting and non-sporting commercial activity.

Sport Ireland will not fund Clubs, Affiliates, Provinces or Branches directly and funding will be accessed through programmes established by the Governing Body.

 

Scheme Four – Swimming Pool & Facilities Fund

This scheme provides specific funding to support the reopening and continued viability of Swimming Pools along with the strategic facilities of National Governing Bodies & Local Sports Partnerships.

A Funding Scheme for swimming pools will be designed and delivered by Ireland Active in consultation with Sport Ireland.

 

Scheme Five – Resumption of Sport & Physical Activity

A Restart Fund to support the return of sport and physical activity post pandemic has been made available.

The Scheme seeks to support a number of key focus areas

  • A Disability Sport Fund
  • Older Adults Support
  • Third Level Education Support
  • NGB Grassroots & Indoor Sport Support
  • LSP Small Grant Scheme
  • LSP Grassroots Sport Support

 

 

 

Notes to the Editor:

Total Overall NGB Allocations

Organisation

Scheme One 

 Scheme Two

 Scheme Three

 Scheme Five

 Total

Gaelic Athletic Association

20,000,000

20,000,000

Football Association of Ireland

19,000,000

19,000,000

Irish Rugby Football Union

18,000,000

18,000,000

Field Sports Total

57,000,000

57,000,000

Special Olympics Ireland

500,000

500,000

Irish Wheelchair Association Sport

142,000

142,000

CARA

80,000

80,000

Paralympics Ireland

65,000

65,000

Vision Sports Ireland

50,000

50,000

Disability Sport Total

837,000

837,000

Cricket Ireland

1,300,000

200,000

1,500,000

Basketball Ireland

360,000

550,000

100,000

1,010,000

Golf Ireland

700,000

200,000

900,000

Athletics Ireland

650,000

650,000

Irish Athletic Boxing Association

60,000

400,000

50,000

510,000

Gymnastics Ireland

500,000

500,000

The Camogie Association

500,000

500,000

Irish Martial Arts Commission

225,000

215,000

440,000

Swim Ireland

300,000

125,000

425,000

Horse Sport Ireland

300,000

200,000

500,000

Hockey Ireland

350,000

350,000

Irish Sailing

350,000

350,000

Badminton Ireland

130,000

200,000

330,000

Motor Sport Ireland

120,000

150,000

50,000

320,000

Triathlon Ireland

186,000

125,000

311,000

Volleyball Ireland

200,000

200,000

Irish Squash

60,000

125,000

185,000

Rowing Ireland

85,000

100,000

185,000

National Community Games

100,000

50,000

150,000

Irish Underwater Council / Diving Ireland

10,000

110,000

120,000

Canoeing Ireland

18,000

100,000

118,000

GAA Handball

100,000

100,000

Archery Ireland

32,000

50,000

7,000

89,000

Fencing Ireland

5,000

70,000

75,000

Irish Judo Association

15,000

20,000

35,000

70,000

Motorcycling Ireland

50,000

50,000

Olympic Handball

40,000

40,000

Bowling League of Ireland

40,000

40,000

Rugby League Ireland

15,000

20,000

35,000

Irish Taekwondo Union

15,000

10,000

Irish Women Take on the Atlantic

Two women’s crews with strong Irish links set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to row across the Atlantic today. Jessica Oliver, who is Irish, teamed up with Charlotte Harris as part of the WildWaves crew, while Victoria Carroll and Saf Greenwood (pictured) form the Tideway Odyssey crew.

 Both crew got good starts in a very smooth start to the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, roared on by a big crowd which gathered on the quay. The fleet of boats is set to row the 3,000 miles (4,800 km) to Antigua

 Carroll is the grand daughter of esteemed Irish coach Noel Casey, who gave her a pep talk yesterday. Get on with it! was the message from Casey who still coaches with Kenmare. He turns 88 next Sunday, December 19th.

 Both crews have been fundraising for charities in a very difficult year for running support events.

 

You can track the race here

 

https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com

 

 

https://tidewayodyssey.com

 

 teamwildwaves.com

 

An Audience With Olympic Medallist Aifric Keogh

Olympic medal-winner Aifric Keogh will give an extended live interview this Monday at Trinity College. The event is part of the Trinity Business Forum and will be available online to watch or to download later.

 Keogh and the Ireland women’s four made history when they took bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Games earlier this year.

 The Galway woman will talk to Liam Gorman about the experience, the lessons learned and her new life as an MBA  student at the Trinity Business School.

 Our picture shows the history-making Ireland women’s four: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.