Myross crew make history at World Rowing Coastal Championships

Posted on: 5th November, 2018

Category: Sports Life – Interviews

Contributor: John Bohane

Myross Rowing Club men’s quad rowing team recently made history when they became the first Irish crew to finish in the top five at the World Rowing Coastal Championships, which were held in Sidney, Canada recently. Myross Rowing Club will celebrate their centenary season in 2024. They are currently one of the most successful rowing clubs in Ireland. John Bohane catches up with their dedicated club PRO Ciara Deasy, who also operated as a cox on the historic men’s quad team.

Ciara is still coming to terms with their great performance at the World Rowing Coastal Championships. Myross RC also provided more members on various other teams who also performed exceptionally well at the annual championships. “We achieved amazing results and are thrilled. Our club did extremely well with our men’s quad finishing in fifth position, which is a great achievement. Another Myross club member Carmel Connolly coxed Castletownbere ladies who finished in an amazing sixth place in the A final, while another club man Richie Browne teamed up with Fintan Gilsenan (Castletownbere RC). They came out top of the Irish in the men’s double in the B final. These results represented an amazing achievement for two of the smallest clubs in the South West. It was a great day out for Irish rowing and in particular for the West Cork clubs.”

The weather conditions in Sidney were excellent and very conducive to rowing revealed Ciara. “Conditions in Canada were extremely good. They were better than expected. We had prepared for all weather conditions, but we were extremely lucky as there was little wind and the sun shone all week. This made training and racing more manageable. Sidney was a great spot for rowing. For the competitors it was ideal in terms of the course being well laid out and mapped out. It was a great place to both prepare for the race and unwind afterwards.”

Ciara admits both she and the men’s quad team were nervous prior to their big race. Matters were further complicated when a new format was introduced at the championships this year. The team quickly disbanded their nerves, as they produced a blistering performance at the World Rowing Coastal Championships. Ciara was thrilled with their display. “Leading up to the race that morning we had all been relatively nervous. However, as we were waiting on the beach to start, a real sense of calm came over us and the rest is history. This year they introduced a ‘beach start’. This is where two rowers stay in the boat while the two other rowers and cox must hop in once the hooter goes. We had practiced this a few times and it really paid off. We rowed quite well in the heats but the final was fantastic. It was a very demanding race as it lasted roughly 23 minutes. We couldn’t be prouder. It was a great achievement alone to represent Myross RC and Ireland, let alone finish fifth. We are after making the history books by being the highest finishing Irish team in the men’s quad at world level.”

The talented quartet who helped Myross Rowing Club finish fifth at the World Rowing Coastal Championships were Kenneth McCarthy, Vincent Browne, Andrew O’Sullivan and James Lupton. Ciara is full of praise for her talented club colleagues. “The lads are extremely talented. These athletes are extremely dedicated. They are a great asset to Myross Rowing Club and they are great ambassadors to rowing in Ireland. Their dedication and commitment is second to none.”

Ciara was thrilled to play her part in their brilliant achievement in Canada. She displayed all her experience and expertise in coxing them to fifth place in the world. “To represent your club and country is unbelievable. It really and truly is a magical feeling. I have always had a great interest in rowing. I never thought I would compete in a World Championship let alone finish fifth as part of the Men’s quad. Rowing is a great team sport and I’m delighted to be part of this amazing team. We all have a specific job to do in the boat and we all play a vital role within the team. It’s great to think that all the time we have spent together training as a team has paid off.”

The Deasy family are synonymous with Myross Rowing Club. Ciara has been a member of her beloved Myross RC since she was ten. She loves representing her local club. “My parents were and still are involved in the club committee. Dad started off his rowing career in the 1980s. He, along with Pat Allen Deasy, went around the parish in 1984 and collected sponsorship for a new boat and the club haven’t looked back since. My grandfather was also involved in rowing. He was part of the Myross team involved in the ‘famous challenge of 1953’. Rowing is deeply embedded in my family. Myross is a great club to be apart of. We have a long tradition of rowing in Myross and I feel it is very important to keep the tradition alive. We have a fantastic background committee who work together as a team to ensure the continued success of the club. Our rowing club is very family orientated and value its members greatly.”

Coastal rowing remains very popular in West Cork with many great clubs competing both locally and nationally for honours. Myross RC members received great help in the run up to the World Coastal Rowing Championships. They are very grateful to their neighbouring clubs for their support. “Rowing is a super sport to pursue. It is very demanding in terms of training. It’s a great social outlet while adding a challenge at the same time. Coastal rowing is on the increase in West Cork. Last year saw the most entries submitted in the South West Championship, particularly at underage level. Offshore rowing is a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland and West Cork clubs are certainly setting the bar and flying the flag high at international level. A special mention must go to Carmel Nash and Ahakista Rowing Club for the loan of their boat for training in the lead up to the World Championships.”

The victorious Myross Rowing Club members and their entourage received a great welcome home upon their return to Union Hall following their marvellous displays in Canada. Bonfires were lit as proud locals gathered to pay homage to their returning heroes. Ciara was delighted with the reception they received. “We received a great welcome. It meant so much to us. After landing back in West Cork, we made our way in convoy into the village where there were bonfires waiting for us. Our family and friends were awaiting our arrival with banners, flags and treats. Our club has always received great support from the community. From running our local regatta, to launching our pontoon and contributing to our lotto, our community is amazing. The lotto is a vital fundraiser for the club. The people who run the lotto as well as the community who buy tickets are a massive support. It is vital, as it helps with the daily expenses and running of the club. It also means we can offer our members better facilities – boats/oars/rowing machines/trailers etc. Myross RC is extremely grateful to everyone who contributes in any way big or small. It all makes a difference thus ensuring the future of the club. A special mention must go to our families, sponsors and backroom team for being so supportive. Without any of these people this dream would not have been possible.”

Ciara was also delighted Myross Rowing Club colleagues Richie Browne and Carmel Connolly enjoyed great success in Canada. “Richie and Carmel play a vital role in our club. They are part of our committee and give up so much time to ensure the continued success of Myross Rowing Club. It was Richie’s first time competing as part of a men’s double and they were very successful in the B final. They were the first Irish boat to finish. Richie is a great asset to the club. Richie along with Martin Connolly were boat handlers for our men’s quad and they both played a massive role in helping us get off to a good start. It is Carmel’s second time competing at the World Championships, having also competed in Geneva last year. Carmel is one of the most experienced coxswains in Ireland. She’s following in her father’s footsteps who was also coxswain of the Myross team who rowed the famous ‘Gig’ in the 1960s. Carmel has been the main cox for the club over the past 25 years. She has won numerous gold, silver and bronze All-Ireland medals. She really is an inspiration and has given so much to the sport of rowing.”

Ciara acts as secretary and shares PRO duties for Myross Rowing Club with her fellow coxswain Carmel Connolly. Ciara is lavish in her praise for her fellow committee members. She loves giving back and contributing to the community. “My mum Mary was secretary for a long time and passed this role onto me last year. I love being part of the committee. Rowing has given me a purpose in life and I feel it’s only right to give something back to the community. We have a great background team and work really well together. I think the rowing club is a great facility and asset to the community. There are many people involved behind the scenes in our success story. Mike Daly, our boat transporter is fantastic, while his wife Mairead along with Niamh Browne, Carmel, Denis McCarthy and I are involved in training of underage and overage crews. Tadhg Bergin is our amazing treasurer and works away quietly in the background. Outside of the committee we have other members who help out with the running of the lotto and other fundraisers such as flag days and golf classics. These people are key to the success of our club.”

Myross Rowing Club will celebrate their centenary year in 2024. Ciara is very confident the club has a bright future ahead and they will celebrate their anniversary season in style. “In 2024, our club will be 100 years in existence and we’re building towards this. Membership levels were up on last year with 70 members approximately and we hope to increase it next year as well. Our clubhouse was opened in 1999. It is a great facility to have for indoor training, meetings and local events. We are hoping to invest in more facilities for our members and perspective members. We are also training up the next generation of coxes. The future is certainly looking bright for the club.”

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