Henley Royal Regatta, 1975 ~ According to the Henley records, ‘Garda won the Thames Cup with what must surely have been the strongest Irish crew yet seen at Henley’. Thirty-two crews were entered for the Thames Challenge Cup, with four crews seeded – Dartmouth, Harvard University, Nautilus and Leander. In the opening round we beat Harvard by two lengths (1.50) (3.09) (6.40). The Irish Independent (4/7/75) reported:
The outstanding performance was that of the Garda eight, who dismissed the seeded Harvard University crew in summary fashion …with the race won it was only a paddle home from the enclosure, and the crowd in the stand accorded Garda the loudest applause of the day for a first rate performance.
On Friday we beat Saxon B.C. (1.52) (3.09) (6.41). In the quarterfinal we got the better of University of London by one and a quarter lengths (1.51) (3.11) (6.44). In the semifinal, on Sunday morning, Henley R.C. rowing on their home ‘turf’ were no match for us and went down by one and three quarter lengths (1.50) (3.06) (6.39). Ominously, Quintin set new records against Leander in the other semifinal, 1.49 to the Barrier and 3.05 to Fawley. Club Captain Sean Kavanagh, team manager Gerry McDonagh, Mr. Joe McGough and his wife Nancy were among the 30,000 spectators who cheered on our crew in their Bord Bainne sponsored ‘Kerrygold’ boat. A distinctly Irish cheer could be heard when it was announced on the public address system that ‘At the end of the Island, Garda Síochána Boat Club, Ireland leads Quintin Boat Club by a canvas’. We went from strength to strength and were two and a quarter lengths ahead at the three quarter mile signal. Quintin began to pull us back, but we were never in danger of being beaten and went on to win the Thames Challenge Cup by one length (1.50) (3.08) (6.37).
The Times of London reported:
Garda Síochána who have been knocking on the door in this event for some time came home winners one length clear of Quintin for a popular win. There seemed to be so many Irish policemen here lending support that Dublin over the weekend must have been a thief’s paradise.
The celebrations were dampened somewhat, when, as the victorious crew returned to the slip, the landing pontoon collapsed under the weight of well wishers. Many of the crew and supporters were thrown into the water. Thankfully nobody was hurt. That night, the crew and supporters travelled to London to celebrate their famous victory at a function hosted by Bord Bainne.
Garda VIII ~ Winners of the Thames Challenge Cup, 1975
Bow John Fahy (5) Willie Ryan
(2) Larry Barron
(3) Frank Moore
(4) Andy McDonough Str. Mick Ryan
Cox Liam Redmond
Coaches Brendan Duane, Pat Grace and Lou Barry