Henley Royal Regatta, 2008 ~ Caroline Ryan won the opening round of the Princess Royal Challenge Cup when she beat F.H. Jacob easily (2.30) (4.17) (9.08). In the semifinal she beat A. Labots from Holland, easily (2.55) (5.04) (10.28). In the final Caroline showed characteristic grit in her victory over Mathilde Pauls, a German-born British squad team member. The start of the race was delayed due to thunder and lightning. Once underway, Caroline took the lead which she held to the finish by three and a half lengths (2.32) (4.21) (9.18). Her victory was witnessed by a large Irish contingent led by Club President Dermot Jennings, Captain Brian Hoey and Coaches Willie & Ted Ryan and Brendan Duane. According to The Irish Times:
Caroline Ryan bridged a yawning gap for her country, her club, the Garda Síochána and her family and made history when she won the women’s single sculls title, the Princess Royal Cup at Henley (July 6, 2008) and became the first Irish woman ever to win a trophy at the Royal Regatta. It was the first Irish win in an ‘open’ event at Henley since 1979 when Garda won the Prince Philip Challenge Cup for coxed fours with a crew that included her father Willie and Uncle Ted.
On the 23rd July 2008 a reception was held at Islandbridge to celebrate Caroline’s victory. The plaudits were led by Garda Commissioner Mr. Fachtna Murphy, who said:
I want to congratulate Caroline on creating rowing history by winning the Princess Royal Challenge Cup at Henley … This is an outstanding achievement for Caroline and an honour for her and An Garda Síochána.
Club President Assistant Commissioner Dermot Jennings remarked:
It was a memorable occasion to be present in the Stewards Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta to witness this great win for the Club and to hear Caroline and Garda cheered on by the crowd.
Winner of the Princess Royal Cup, 2008
Coaches Brendan Duane, Ted Ryan and Willie Ryan