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National Championships, 1965

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National Championships, 1965 ~ On Saturday 17th July 1965, the Irish Senior VIII Championship took place at the 96th Metropolitan Regatta at Blessington Lakes. Having eluded us for the past eleven years our big break-through came when we won the final in style. An important point about this victory was that it was achieved by our junior crew, who had won the Junior VIII and IV Championship earlier in the year. Club Captain Pat Clavin was among a large crowd that watched the race from the lake shore. There were seven crews entered for the main event of the day. The Garda junior crew rating forty-seven strokes per minute led off the start. They never relinquished their lead and were first home, two lengths clear of our senior crew with Coleraine finishing third. An unidentified newspaper reported:

Hundreds of shirt sleeved spectators saw Garda Rowing Club achieve a lifelong ambition by winning one of the most coveted trophies in Irish rowing, the senior eights championship, at the Dublin Metropolitan Regatta at Blessington. Ironically the Dublin policemen have to thank their second crew for a win which means that the club has now completed the Grand Slam of every major title during the past 10 years. To the ringing cheers of a packed enclosure, the ‘B’ crew confirmed recent form by beating the club’s first eight by two lengths, with Coleraine R.C. another half a length back in third place. It was a victory without the slightest trace of luck. Opening up at forty-seven strokes a minute, the ‘B’ crew were already a third of a length in front at the 500 metre mark with Garda ‘A’ and Coleraine disputing second place. The gap had widened to three-quarters of a length at the half way stage and by the time the crews entered the enclosure it was clear that nothing short of a sensation could foil the leaders. The ‘A’ crew made their last desperate effort 200 metres out, but it was wasted effort and the reserves flashed past the finishing markers with two lengths to spare.

Sean Kavanagh recalls this historic occasion:

In 1965 the same crew that won the Maiden Championship in 1964 rowed at junior level ‘now intermediate’ and were unbeaten. At Carlow Regatta which was held on Whit weekend, another three day event, the crew competed in the Junior IV Championship. The stern four and bow four which I stroked, with Don Redmond as cox, won the heats and ended up meeting in the final. The stern four, with Brendan Woods at stroke, won the Four’s Championship by two feet. A week later we captured the Junior Eight Championship at Coleraine … After that we went on to win the Senior Eight Championship at Metro Regatta in Blessington. This was the first Senior Championship win for our club. Our senior crew came second ahead of Coleraine. In a separate race we also won the senior eight event for the Pembroke Cup. We had a big celebration that night in the Downshire House Hotel, John Collins and I filled the Cup with twelve bottles of brandy, twelve bottles of champagne, twenty-four bottles of beer and twelve large bottles of lemonade. The cost was £80. The Cup was brought downstairs and Tom Rooney (grounds man) had a ladle and filled the glasses from a small table in the middle of the floor. We were there until about one o’clock and a great night was had by all.

Irish Senior VIII Champions, 1965

Bow     Pat Millea                                 (5)        Fred Healy

(2)        Tom Foley                                (6)        Gay McCarthy

(3)        Tom Lynch                               (7)        Mick Drew

(4)        Sean Kavanagh                        Str.      Brendan Woods

Cox                 Connie Byrne

Coaches          Gerry McDonagh



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