Gaillard Replaces Matt Smith at World Rowing

World Rowing, the international governing body for the sport of rowing, has announced the appointment of Vincent Gaillard (Switzerland) as its new Executive Director effective January 2022, replacing Matt Smith. Smith announced last year that he wished to step down by the end of 2021 after more than 25 years in the role, prompting the launch of an international recruitment process which has now been completed.

Matt Smith joined FISA as Development Director in 1992, before taking up his current position in 1995. During his tenure, under the successive presidencies of Denis Oswald and Jean-Christophe Rolland, he has overseen an unprecedented development of the sport of rowing, as well as the development of World Rowing which now counts 156 member countries worldwide.

With international experience that includes the NBA, Coca-Cola’s Olympic and FIFA projects, and successively as CEO of GAISF and EPCR, Gaillard will work alongside World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland and Council to develop the organisation’s current and future strategic plans, and will lead the staff from the headquarters in the Olympic capital of Lausanne. His priorities will include the global development of all rowing disciplines (including coastal and indoor rowing), the commercial promotion of rowing around the world and the acceleration of the organisation’s ongoing governance and sustainability efforts.

On Smith’s departure and Gaillard’s appointment, Rolland said: “On behalf of all of us at World Rowing, I would like to warmly thank Matt for his immense contribution and dedication over almost three decades, which has not only allowed our sport to grow but also our organisation to become more professional. The arrival of Vincent starts a new chapter for World Rowing and his experience, including the development of commercial and sustainability strategies, is particularly well suited to the challenges that our organisation now faces.”

Gaillard added: “I am particularly honoured by the confidence placed in me by World Rowing and looking forward to contributing to the development of rowing around the world in the years to come, building on the outstanding work done by Matt. I am optimistic about the potential for growth in the various rowing disciplines, as well as with the organisation itself and I look forward to working with the entire World Rowing team to achieve it.” 

The picture shows Matt Smith, Jean-Christophe Rolland and Vincent Gaillard. 


Caseys’ Fifth Generation Takes on Atlantic Challenge

Victoria Carroll, one of the famous Casey rowing and wrestling familing, is set to row the Atlantic ocean this winter.

 Carroll is the grandaughter of Irish rowing coach Noel Casey. She is English but she learnt rowing in a single scull during summer holidays in County Kerry. Being the fifth generation of rower in her family, she says she didn’t really have a choice. She went on to be a competitive rower and a coach with Vesta Rowing Club.

 She will partner Saf Greenwood, an army officer, in the Tideway Odyssey double which will compete in the Talikser Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. It is set to begin on December 12th.

 The boat ships out next week so everything has had to be loaded and packed in the last few – stressful – days.

  The Caseys of Sneem (see picture below) were famous and successful in Ireland, Britain and America. All seven brothers, including Steve ‘Crusher’ Casey, were inducted into the Irish Sport Hall of Fame.

 Noel Casey, the son of Jack Casey and grandfather of Victoria, coached rowing in Britain, Australia and Ireland – at 87 he still coaches with Kenmare. The picture above shows Victoria (right) with Noel and his daughter, Bernadette (Casey) Carroll, Victoria’s mother, 

 Noel first learnt his rowing from his grandmother, as his father moved back to the home place after his wife died. Ballaugh is on a peninsula and the only practical way to get in and out was to row. Noel’s grandmother, Bridget, rowed with him to church and to shop. “I learned rowing technique at about four,” he said.

  There is a second all-woman British/Irish double set to compete in the Atlantic Challenge. WildWaves, crewed by Jessica Oliver, who is Irish/English, and Charlotte Harris, will row for charities supporting domestic abuse victims and the homeless.

 Ireland is also well-represented in entries for the 2022 race, with RowHardOrGoHome and Jamie Carr in a solo already signed up.

 Irish rowers have a good record of participation in this race. One highlight amongst many was when Gavan Hennigan from Galway set a new record for a solo oarsman in the 2016/2017 race. He completed the 3,000 miles in 49 days, 11 hours and 37 minutes. 

Castleconnell Junior Eight Fastest at St Michael’s Head

Castleconnell’s men’s junior 18 eight were the fastest crew at the St Michael’s head of the river. The host club’s junior 18A quadruple (Fionn McDonald, Shane Rafferty, Aiden Kearney and Cormac Benson, pictured at the Irish Championships) came a  close second in terms of time taken to cover the 3.4 kilometres.

 The competition in the junior 18 quads, won by that St Michael’s crew, was one of the most serious of the day.

 The new scheduling of the event worked well in terms of weather – it was a fine and dry day. The entry of 205 crews was primarily made up of junior crews.  

Beggan Tops Time Trial Rankings on Dublin Ladder

Niall Beggan of Commercial (pictured) was the fastest competitor at the time trial for the Dublin Sculling Ladder today. Alex Gillick of Neptune was the fastest junior.
Neptune’s Claire Feerick (below) topped the women’s rankings, while Emma Moloney of Commercial was the fastest junior woman.
The day was warm and still, making for excellent conditions.

Additional Funding of €65m For Sport Sector

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D., and the Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers T.D., announced today that additional current funding of up to €65 million will be available to support the sport sector this year.  Allied to the additional current expenditure of €26.3 million already provided to Sport Ireland, a total of €91.3 million will have been allocated in additional current funding to support the sport sector in 2021.


This package is intended to support National Governing Bodies of Sport and sports clubs arising from the significant impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the sports sector, by providing specific funding support for the following sectors;


·       Field Sport funding to support the main field sports, i.e. the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU;

·       A Resilience Fund to support the other National Governing Bodies of Sport;

·       A Sports Club Resilience Fund to support clubs from all sports;

·       A Swimming Pools/Facilities Fund;

·       A Resumption of Sport & Physical Activity Fund.


The above schemes will be run by Sport Ireland and the funding will be distributed through the National Governing Bodies of Sport. 

Minister Martin said:

The sport sector has been, and continues to be, severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout this period, we have been continuously engaging with the sector, and we know that sporting bodies and clubs have been severely hit in every aspect of their operations, not least financially.  This further allocation of €65 million will allow Sport Ireland, through a number of different schemes, to assist those sporting bodies and clubs which are in greatest need, as we strive to ensure that our sporting sector is supported at every level across the country.”


Minister Chambers said:

“I am very pleased that we are able to continue to support our sporting bodies. Last year, our Covid-19 support funding helped ensure that our sporting bodies were in a position to maintain operations, avoid insolvency and prepare for a return to activity. The funding also provided support with Covid-19 related costs and losses in 166 Rugby clubs, over 400 grassroots and League of Ireland Clubs along with 33,271 Gaelic Games teams.  In addition, support was provided to 1,637 clubs throughout the country through small grants operated by Local Sports Partnerships. 


We have seen the positive impact that the return of sporting fixtures has had across the country these past few months.  However, there is a lot more work to be done.  Many organisations and clubs have lost huge amounts of revenue, as their activities have been severely curtailed.  The indoor sports sector has been particularly badly hit, with indoor sports only set to resume their activities this month.  I hope that this funding will go a long way to assisting our sporting organisations and clubs and enable them to recover fully as we emerge from this pandemic.”

Killorglin Best of Big Ireland Challenge at World Championships

Ireland qualified 14 crews for A Finals at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Oeiras in Portugal today, but came up short of taking a medal.
 The pattern of the A Finals was set early: the strong tide pushed boats to the right of the first buoy – those crews which overcame this and got cleanly around this mark would figure in the medals.
The best placing was won by Killorglin’s young crew of Natalie Long, Zoe Hyde, Deirdre Leahy, Molly Sullivan and Rhiannon O’Donogue (pictured), who finished fourth.
 Ukraine would win three gold medals on the day and in this race they commanded the – disruptive – waves from early on and came home first. The Killorglin crew were part of four-boat breakaway from the first turn at one kilometre, but they could not break out of fourth. The Kerry crew finished well, and were just 18.66 seconds off the bronze medal placing.
 The women’s solo was notable from Ireland’s perspective because four Ireland crews all competed well. A group of five leaders formed, with defending champion Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine leading and looking good for the win. But Stefania Gobbi of Italy had other ideas. She passed the leader and went on to win well, from her.
 Sionna Healy of Arklow was the leading Irish contender. She got a good start and held on to the leading group right through, taking fifth. Miriam Sheehan was just two places further back, while Xena Jordan took 11th and Niamh Hayes 18th.
 The very difficult conditions had a major part to play in the men’s solo. Kealan Mannix would take 10th in a race in which the reigning champion Adrian Miramon Quiroga fell in as the mess of boats pushed sideways by the tide coagulated at the first buoy. In an amazing turn, the Spaniard got back in and clawed his way to a bronze medal. Germany was second, while Spain’s Jaime Canalejo Pazos won.
 The men’s coxed quadruple followed the set pattern: the crews which avoided the pileup at the first buoy were the ones in contention at the end. Ukraine and the Czech Republic went on to take gold and silver, but the Shandon/Portmagee combination did not come out in the top set. It would fight back to take eighth, while the St Patrick’s/Cairndhu crew came in at the back of the field, in 20th. Britain took the bronze.
 The highest hopes of the Irish rested on the Killorglin/Shandon mixed double of Monika Dukarska and Ronan Byrne, but the best they could do was eighth place.
 Spanish crews negotiated the pile-up at the start well, and took all three medal placings.

Ireland Rowers Rack Up A Final Places at World Finals

Ireland had a very good day at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Oeiras, Portugal, today. Six crews qualified for Saturday’s A Finals – some of them in with a good chance of medals  – while Castletownbere won the B Final of the women’s coxed quadruple.

 The good run of A Final qualifications started with the all-Olympian mixed double of Monika Dukarska and Ronan Byrne (pictured), who finished second in their heat. The Championships are complicated – and made more exciting – by the variable sea conditions and the pile-ups at the turning points, but Dukarska and Byrne will surely be contenders come Saturday afternoon.

 The Shandon/Portmagee men’s coxed quad qualified for their A Final with a fifth-place finish in their heat. The crew’s Shandon men – Sean O’Sullivan, Ronan Byrne, Ciarán Brady and Alex Byrne – are coxed by Portmagee’s David Hussey.  

 They will be joined in the final by another starry crew: the St Patrick’s/Cairndhu crew features Ireland’s first-ever world champion, in Niall O’Toole. They finished 10th in their heat.

 Both Arklow and Kincasslagh made it through to the A Final of the women’s double, and Kealan Mannix of Rosscarbery shot into the A Final of the men’s solo with a fourth-place finish in his heat. 

Ireland Women Make World Coastal Finals

Ireland qualified multiple crews for A Finals at the World Rowing Coastal Championships at Oeiras in Portugal today, but there were a few disappointments. Monika Dukarska, a former gold medallist in the women’s solo, did not make it through after a collision.

 In the women’s coxed quad, two Ireland crews qualified for the A Final from one heat: Killorglin (pictured) and Castletownshend took third and ninth places. Castletownbere’s 11th placing took them into the B Final.

 Cairndhu’s seventh placing in their heat also saw them into the A Final, while Passagewest are set for a B Final after taking 17th.

 Arklow’s Sionna Healy and Castletownbere’s Miriam Sheehan, through fourth and fifth placings, booked their spots in the A Final of the women’s solo, but Dukarska missed out as she did not finish due to a collision. Arklow’s Xena Jordan also made it to the solo A Final, placing 4th in her heat, as did Galley Flash’s Niamh Hayes, through placing 9th.

 Three men’s doubles missed out on chances to qualify for A Finals: Arklow, who were 12th in their heat, did make the B Final, but Killurin/Kilmacsimon (17th) and St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire (20th in their heat, after a penalty) made their exit.

 Ireland have more chances to make A Finals on Friday.  

Presidential Election – Here Are The Candidates

Delegates from clubs around the country will get to choose the president of Rowing Ireland come the annual general meeting on October 31st. 

 Three candidates have put themselves forward. Each has graciously agreed to make their case on

 Here are their pitches. The names were randomly picked out of a hat to determine the order in which they appear.

My name is John McCarthy and I am presently chairman of Cork Boat Club. I am married to Jean and we have three children (two boys and a girl) all of whom have rowed at some time. As you will appreciate, they are the most important thing in my life.

 I have decided to seek your consideration for the role of President of Rowing Ireland. I will begin by saying that should you opt for one of the other candidates I will completely accept your judgement and continue to work to improve the sport.

 It is a reasonable question to ask, why would I have such an interest? I have not sought such office before, why now?

 I have a growing sense that a focus on domestic rowing is long overdue. I believe we need a “stocktake” of our sport to assess if it is responding to the needs of clubs and athletes.

  My view is that to be successful in this endeavour all clubs need to speak and be heard. During the many discussions I have with clubs from every province of the country I, like many of my fellow rowing colleagues agree that the sport we love faces many challenges. For instance, why do we only have about 3,000 registered athletes (pre Covid) which, by national sporting standards, is a small number.

 There are more things that we have in common than separate us. I have many thoughts on how we might respond to some of the challenges we face. I want to hear what the clubs have to say on these key subjects and if successful, I will work through the branches to develop a strategy for our sport through consensus, dialogue and ultimately put in place any agreed measures that address these challenges.

 I believe we are too small a sport to allow parochial or regional interests outweigh the needs of the sport nationally and that is how I present myself to you.

My name is Leo Gibson. I am the Honorary Treasurer of Rowing Ireland and will be running for the office of President of Rowing Ireland at the AGM. I rowed for the the UCD senior eight and subsequently sculled competitively for seven years. I rowed in Lucerne, Essen, Nottingham and at Henley, in the Diamond Sculls.

 I run a management consultancy specialising in advising and financing startup businesses.

 As Treasurer for the last two years (and a Director for four years before that), I have presided over a very successful programme to keep Rowing Ireland financially stable during the Covid enforced lockdown and have also been able to ensure that rowing clubs had access to over €90,000 of Government Covid funding during the Lockdown. We are probably the most financially stable of all medium sized sports in Ireland this year as a result.

 As President, I would aim to continue to make Rowing Ireland more useful to clubs and, in particular, to ensure that the branches are given the resources to develop rowing and rowing clubs in their provinces. I am keen to see a stronger flow of young people into clubs from the Get Going Get Rowing programme and the wider takeup of the new online coach education programme. I am also keen to see the wider development of Masters Rowing which I see as key to retaining oarspeople in clubs where they can be of more assistance to club administrators and coaches.

 I was responsible for devising the first Masters Handicap System which facilitated racing across many age grades in the 1990s which was partly responsible for the subsequent big increase in Masters rowing. I will also work to stage an annual International Masters Regatta in Lough Rynn, utilising the many contacts built up our Masters crews over the years.

Hi, I am Susan Dunlea.

 Professionally, I have a BSc.(Hons) Estate Management Surveying along with a Diploma in Accounting and Finance. I’m a property surveyor (Valuations) at the State Valuation Office and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI) and the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV).

 My involvement in rowing spans 25 years, across all aspects of the sport. My rowing career started at Monkstown & Cork Harbour Rowing Club, where I won a championship. I am the event secretary for ​Cork Regatta, ​the biggest regatta outside of the​ Irish ​Championships. I’m a member of the Championship and Umpires Committees. I have been a key player in the hosting of the Coupe de ​​la Jeunesse and the Home International Regatta, last held here in 2018. I have been the Team Manager for the Rowing Ireland Senior Team and I have also served on the Board of Rowing Ireland as the Honorary Treasurer​.​ 

 I believe that as President of Rowing Ireland I would move ​r​owing forward. 

 The need for thinking outside the box is vital in order to grow and retain our people within clubs. I will ensure that clubs are supported, invested in and highlighted.  

 A better strategy and plan for the Provincial Branches going forward is a must. Collaboration with branches will lead to the development of our athletes, coaches and other personnel. 

 Rowing Ireland hosts some exceptional events. However, a more professional approach must be taken towards the University Championships and the Schools Regatta.

 Capital Investment into our infrastructure is imperative. Ireland needs to be able to showcase our sport on a larger stage.

 If elected, I will support every club. I will recognise and support the wonderful volunteer aspect. I will build on and support the outstanding achievements of our High-Performance athletes at international level. I will endeavour to move our sport forward, provide resources to all our clubs, champion the growth of our sport and make rowing a sport for all. 

Mannix Tests Favourite at World Rowing Beach Sprints

Kealan Mannix gave it a good go in the last 16 round of the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals but lost out to an impressive opponent.

 Christopher Bak of the United States had been very fast in the time trials for the solo, while Mannix had work to do on his sprint to the boat at the beautiful venue in Oeiras, Portugal.

 The Irishman did much better this time out, and reached the boat at about the same time as the American. Bak swept away quicker and rowed around the turning point a little ahead. His transition from boat to beach was also slicker, though Mannix again sprinted well and there was just a few seconds between them at the end.