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Leinster Indoor Rowing Competition PHOTOGRAPHS + RESULTS

To everyone who took part in the Leinster Indoor Competition on the 28th November 2015 GSBC would like to say well done and thanks for competing and making it such a great day.

video should be available in the next couple of days.


if anyone is looking for hi resolution images please email us or send us a message through facebook.

Results are available from the link bellow

Leinster Indoor Results


Garda sculler to represent Ireland at Home International Regatta 2015

The Garda Boat Club are delighted to announce that Garda Ronan Allen has been selected to represent Ireland at the Home International Regatta at Stratclyde, Scotland on 25th July 2015.

 Ronan took part in the trials which were held at Cork Regatta on 20th June 2015. In tough conditions on the day Ronan excelled over his competition to secure selection. The previous week, he won in the Mens Inter Double Sculls at Athlone Regatta, adding to his win at Dublin Metropolitian Regatta in the Single Sculls. Ronan also represented the club at the pretegious London Metropolitian Regatta earlier in the season where he performed very well. Ronan is an up and coming sculler who has plenty to offer yet and his selection for the Home International Squad comes as no suprise to all his fellow club mates and coach Willie Ryan. However, before he represents Ireland Ronan will travel with the rest of the Garda Squad to the National Rowing Championships on 10th – 12th July at the National Rowing Centre, to wear the azure and blue of the Garda Boat Club. All support is welcome from past and present club members.

Ronan will represent Ireland in the Mens Double Sculls along with Fionnan Groome of Commercial Boat Club. Best of luck to Ronan and all of the squad at Stratclyde on 25th July 2015.


Sixty Years in a Row

The Garda Síochána Boat Club celebrates its Diamond Jubilee 


64a copyOn 9th June 1954 a meeting was held at Islandbridge with a view to establishing a Boat Club for members of An Garda Síochána. The meeting was presided over by the then Chief Superintendent Paddy Carroll who was elected Club President and together with the Club’s first Captain Jim Maguire, they played a pivotal role in getting the Club on the water. While the minutes of that first meeting indicated that the new committee’s vision was for a competitive rowing club, few could have foresaw the lofty heights the Club would achieve or dreamed that sixty years later in 2014 the Club would be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and so many achievements.

The Club’s first competitive outing was on 14th May 1955 at the Dublin Head of the River. The race was rowed over a two and three quarter mile course from Islandbridge to a point between O’Connell Bridge and Butt Bridge. The new Garda VIII finished sixth overall out of ten crews. Less than a month later the Garda Maiden VIII had their first taste of success when they won the ‘Towers Challenge Cup’ at Trinity Regatta. Crew member Gerry McDonagh recalls that the Club’s first victory nearly ended in disaster when ‘… in a moment of elation and probably bewilderment, we let our boat drift on to the weir and but for the action of John Killian it could have been badly damaged. A Sunday Press photographer captured it all on camera, so the following day we got, to our embarrassment, headlines – some of them for the wrong reasons’. 

After the first few years it became evident that the newly formed Garda Boat Club was developing into a force to be reckoned with. The arrival of a new President in 1957 in the guise of Superintendent Tim O’Brien provided the impetus for Garda oarsmen to go from strength to strength. Valuable experience was gained on the Club’s first venture to the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in 1958, while the Crew didn’t return home with any trophies a seed was sown! Numerous victories followed on Irish waters and there was a steady flow of silverware to Islandbridge.  The strength of the Garda oarsmen was highlighted in 1960 when the Garda Maiden Crew won the Irish Maiden VIII Championship at Blessington Lakes. The remarkable fact about this victory was that they won with seven men. Stroke Damien O’Leary had taken ill the week before the race and was unable to compete. The 1960 Maiden VIII claims the distinction of being the only crew to have ever won an Irish Rowing Championship with seven men.

Despite a number of near misses, the Irish Senior VIII Championship eluded the Club’s efforts until 1965 when the big break-through came. Remarkably the victory was achieved by the Garda Junior Crew, who overcame the Garda Senior Crew and all other competitors to capture the title at Metropolitan Regatta. The joy of winning the ‘Big Pot’ was short lived as Sean Kavanagh, an integral member of the winning crew, was seriously injured in a car accident a short time later. Sean’s rowing career was cut short and what might have been, never was. However, his indomitable spirit shone through and he went on to be a major driving force for the Club.

They say ‘success breeds success’ and the 1966 rowing season was a case in point. The Garda Boat Club became the first club in the history of Irish rowing to win the ‘Grand Slam’, recording victories in Maiden, Junior and Senior VIII Championships in the same year.

After a steady start the 1970s developed into the golden era of Garda rowing. Not only did Garda Crews dominate on domestic waters but they began to shine on the international stage. In particular, 1975 was a special year. Having been unbeaten on Irish Waters the Garda Senior VIII travelled to Ghent where they won gold, breaking the old course record, which was set by the Russians in 1955. Following this famous victory they travelled to the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta with a confidence that was not misplaced. Over 30,000 spectators cheered on as the Garda Crew in their Bord Bainne sponsored ‘Kerrygold’ boat beat Quintin to win the Thames Challenge Cup. The Times of London reported:

There seemed to be so many Irish policemen here lending support that Dublin over the weekend must have been a thief’s paradise.

The taste of international success drove the Club to even greater heights. The stern IV from the victorious Henley crew represented Ireland at the World Championships in Nottingham in 1975. In the repechage they couldn’t have been closer to a place in the Grand Final when they finished third, one hundredth of a second behind the British boat, which included two World Championship silver medallists. The Garda coxed IV went on to win the Petite Final, and were placed 7th overall in the World. 

On 5th July 1976 the Irish Olympic Team departed Dublin to compete at the XXI Olympic Games in Montreal. Garda oarsman Frank Moore, who had travelled as a substitute, had the distinction and honour of carrying the Tricolour and leading the Irish Team into the Olympic Stadium. The Garda Elite Coxed IV {Mick Ryan, Jim Muldoon, Willie Ryan, Christy O’Brien, Liam Redmond (cox) and Pat Grace (coach)} racing under the Irish colours, won the Petite Final and finished seventh in the world.

One of the many highlights of 1977 was our second victory at Henley Royal Regatta, where the Garda Elite IV won the Prince Philip Challenge Cup and disappointingly, our Elite VIII were narrowly beaten in the semi-final of the ‘Grand’ competition which is reserved for international class crews. We returned to Ireland and recorded success in the VIII and Pair at the Irish Senior Championships at Blessington. The Garda Elite IV then went on to compete at the World Championships in Amsterdam where they finished seventh in the World for a third year in a row.

Success on Irish water continued in 1978 and finished on a particularly high note when Willie Ryan and Christy O’Brien achieved fifth place in the Grand Final at the World Championships in New Zealand. Later that year they were awarded a Texaco Sportstar of the Year Award in recognition of their achievement.

1979 will be remembered as the year that we completed a second Grand Slam, winning the Irish Novice, Intermediate and Senior VIII Championships. This feat had only been achieved once before and that was by our Club in 1966. On the international stage, the Garda Senior VIII finished fifth at the London Head of the River and our Elite Coxed IV won the Prince Philip Challenge Cup at Henley for a second time.

In 1980 Garda oarsmen were well represented on the Irish Olympic Team in Moscow, they included – coxless pair of Willie Ryan and Pat Gannon, Christy O’Brien paired up with Denis Rice (Fermoy) and cox Liam Williams (Neptune) in the coxed pair, coxed IV member Ted Ryan, substitute Andy McDonough, Coaches Jim Muldoon & Brendan Duane and Team Manager Peadar Casey. Once again Willie Ryan and Pat Gannon won the Petite Final and finished seventh overall. This was the second successive Olympic Games for a Garda crew to finish in seventh position. Christy O’Brien and Denis Rice (Fermoy) showed early promise, but unluckily, like many of the other Irish athletes took ill and were forced to withdraw. The coxed IV which included Ted Ryan finished in eleventh place.

While the 1980s were a leaner period than the preceding decade, Garda crews continued to perform well on the domestic and international circuit. In 1982 when the Garda Elite IV of Joe Homan (Cox), Willie Ryan, Pat Gannon, Denis Murphy and Ted Ryan won the Bosbaan Regatta, Amsterdam they became the first Irish Crew to beat the all conquering East Germans.  We also had a number of notable victories at home including Senior VIII Championship victories in 1982 and 1983. In 1985 the Garda Elite VIII put in a marvellous performance in the Ladies Plate at Henley Royal Regatta. Willie Ryan recalls the semi-final against Orsmund:

This was the best race of my career. A fantastic win against a much fancied Norwegian crew. Denis Murphy really showed his true ability that morning, he was so determined. It was brilliant to experience the semi-final against the Norwegians which included the Hansen brothers, who had won several World and Olympic Gold Medals in the double scull – one to remember. It was a shame we were beaten in the final by a Leander crew that weren’t near as good as the Norwegians.

Christopher Dodd reported:

The Ladies Plate produced a cracking final between Garda and Leander in which the lead changed twice. It was Leander’s advantage finally by a mere canvas and the time of six minutes and twenty-six seconds was one second faster than Harvard in the ‘Grand’.

During the 1990s a new crop of Garda oarsmen fought valiantly to write their own chapter in the history of the Club. Victories were hard earned and while Championship titles were not as plentiful, the building blocks were laid for the future. The omens were good when in 1999 the Garda Senior VIII won a Bronze Medal at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston and a silver medal at Gent in Belgium. Disappointingly, they were narrowly beaten in the semi-final at Henley, however, they showed their true mettle when they recorded a fantastic victory at the Irish Senior VIII Championship in Cork in July 2000.

As the Club entered the new millennium Caroline Ryan showed her class, winning at local level before capturing national titles and progressing to international competition. Caroline’s finest hour came in 2008 when she won the Princess Royal Challenge Cup at Henley. 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.

Today, the lack of Garda recruitment in recent years has had a knock on effect on the number of Garda crews on the water. However, Club Captain Garda Damien Kelly says “the dedication and hard work of the current crop of Garda oarsmen and women who have just returned from a training camp in Seville is testament to their willingness to keep the Garda Boat Club flag flying”. He also remarks that the lull in rowing has allowed the Committee’s efforts to be channel into refurbishing the Clubhouse at Islandbridge.

Club President Detective Inspector Ciaran Hoey acknowledges the contribution made by so many and that physical fitness is not the only skills that are learned at the Boat Club “As we celebrate our Diamond Jubilee we look back with a great sense of pride and achievement. We remember some fantastic victories and of course one or two that got away. But above all, we remember the many members of An Garda Síochána who joined the Boat Club and who shared the enjoyment of physical exertion and honest endeavour. Not only did the Club provide a platform for athletes it also allowed young Gardai the opportunity to develop as individuals, learning how to run a business, organise events, manage building programmes, raise funds or administer finances. There are many who worked diligently, often behind the scenes, and who could be found at the Club not only on the days when the silverware was being paraded, but also on the cold and wet evenings, providing support and encouragement to others. It is the collective effort that has made the Boat Club the great institution that it is today”.

With a rich history and first class facilities, equipment and people, the Garda Boat Club is well placed to emulate the success of the many great oarsmen and women that have passed through the doors and the future looks very bright indeed.



Dublin Metropolitian Regatta.

Dublin Metropolitian Regatta was held at Blessington Lakes on 17th May 2014.  In the week prior to the Regatta the Garda Squad travelled to New Ross for a training camp.  Assisted by John Diamond of New Ross Boat Club the Garda Squad managed to undertake some strenuous training and accumulate significant milage under the watchful eye of coaches Willie Ryan and Gerry Conway.  The women’s crew were also assisted by their new up and coming cox David Drennan.  David was not afraid to whip his crew into shape and the rewards showed when they travelled to Dublin Metropolitian Regatta the following week.

The weather conditions, although dry and bright were not favourable to rowing.  The first 1000m of the course was very blustery with a signifigant advantage to the crews in Lane 1 after the 1000m marker.  The Womens Club 2 4+, (Janet Walsh, Fiona Connaughton, Marta Coyne, Mary Moore Cox Gavin Connelly) were first up in their heat.  They performed well in their heat and a managed to secure a place in the A final.  They went on to win their event.  This is the first regatta win for the womens crew this year and was a sign of what was to come for the rest of the day.

Olive Holden has been unlucky for a number of recent regattas and has been knocking on the door to success.  Her hard work paid off for her in the Club 1 1x.  She cruised to an easy victory in her heat which put her into the A Final.  Her early morning sessions at Blessington proved to work for her as she claimed her first victory of the year in the 1x when she secured victory in her section of the A final.

In the evening, the Men’s 2x were disqualified due to a timing issue and the responsibility rested firmly on the shoulders of the Womens Club 2 8+ who were taking to the water at the same time.    The winning stern four from earlier were backed up by bow four of Sheila Kenny, Jackie Ryan, Marie Geraghty and Liza Galvin.  They showed guts as they came from ¾ length down off the start to row through their opposition and secure their position in the A Final.  Again in the final, they were down off the start and had to dig deep to their diesel engine in the middle 1000m to stride past their opposition of UCD and others.  They went on to win the final and secure another maiden victory.

A solid four weeks training is now in progress for all crews ahead of Athlone Regatta on 14th June, where the Garda Club seek to secure more silverware.


Dublin Hor

The 70th Dublin HOR was held on Saturday 22nd March 2014.  Racing from Haypenny Bridge towards Heuston, all crews were up against tough, cold and wet weather conditions for teh first race of the year due to the poor recent weather.  Garda Boat Club had two crews amongt the 42 crews.  All crews were left clutching to the boardwalk for shelter from the elements but when the flag went down it was clear that all crews were anxious for their first race since November 6th. Watched eagerly from the bridges and water by coaches Willie Ryan and Gerry Conway the Garda crews were quick from the blocks.  The mens intermediate coxed 4 finished an impressive 1st position, a clear minute ahead of their competition, with much thanks to their well versed cox Lucy Anne O Sullivan. The Womens Novice 8+ were also steered to victory by their new and able cox Gavin Connolly.  The were chased home by a close UCD.

All crews are now looking forward to the start of the regatta season with Neptune Regatta on 5th Apriland Olive Holden attending Trials at the National Rowing Centre on 29th March.  Hopefully this year will see the blue rise again.

Womens Pics : Womens Novice 8.
Gavin Connolly (Cox), Laura O Brien (Stk), Fiona Connaughtan, Marie Geraghty, Mary Moore, Martha Coyne, Liza Galvin, Janet Walsh, Olive Holden.

Mens Pics : Mens Intermediate 4+.

Lucy Anne O Sullivan (Cox), Kevin Sheehan (Stk), Philip Murphy, Ronan Allen, Daire Mac Eoin (Bow).


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Kenny Mc Donald finished in first Place

Garda Kenny McDonald, who was a member of our Senior VIII Championship Crew of 2000, was on the winners podium again when he won the World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston on Sunday the 16th February 2014.

Kenny finished in first place in the Lightweight Senior Master Men Division posting a time of 6:24.5 for a 2000m sprint. He beat last year’s winner by 2 seconds. Two times Olympian and ex USA oarsman Greg Ruckman had to settle for third place, 8 seconds behind Kenny.

Kenny also holds The World Police and Fire Games record in the men’s open lightweight category which he set at the games in 2013.  His intention is to set a new Irish record in the coming months and make an attempt on the World Lightweight senior masters record later this year.  Kenny has won a total of eight Irish Senior National Championships and is an ex international oarsman.

Kenny has been assigned to the Garda Training College for the last nine years and is attached to Garda Operational and Occupational Safety Section.

To watch the race please click here


A World Track Championships silver medal was lifted from around Caroline Ryan’s neck on the last lap of the scratch race in Colombia in the early hours of this morning,

Caroline Ryan has gotten Ireland’s campaign at the UCI World Track Championships in Cali, Colombia, underway with a massive ride in the scratch race that saw her ushered from the podium within touching distance of the finish line.

The Kildare woman and World No 1 pursuiter rode a very clever race early on, minding herself well and always staying within striking distance of the action.

However, while she instigated the winning two-rider move with Belgian Kelly Druyts, she could not hold her place out front. And well inside the last two laps, or 500 metres, of the 10km race she faded and was caught, with the Belgian surviving out front to win the world title.

As the 40-lap race entered its final third, Ryan was showing the legs and smarts that saw her take a bronze medal in the points race at the Worlds in Melbourne two years ago; holding her position really impressively and planting herself right in the middle of the action at the head of the intact bunch.

With exactly 15 laps to go, Ryan could be seen loitering with intent close to the front of that bunch, leading on occasion by mostly happy to sit in the top half dozen riders and bide her time as attacks went and were brought back.

With 7 laps remaining she attacked on the inside from the front, apparently gently at the beginning but managing to pull clear with Belgian rider Druyts.

When the gap opened a little, the Irish rider absolutely buried herself on the front to pull out a bigger lead, sensing this was her big chance in the title race that began at 1am Irish time.

Immediately daylight appeared between the two leaders and the rest of the field as under the power of the Irish woman the gold and silver medals looked to be sailing off into the Colombian night with the crowd going wild in the stands.

But then slowly it became clear Ryan was paying for her efforts a little; being distanced by the Belgian by a half a length and then by several metres; but not blowing and still well ahead of the pack with three and four laps remaining.

Out front, Druyts put on the afterburners and pulled away from Ryan completely as she hit for home flat out inside three laps to go.

Behind, the pace ramped up as the group felt they could still get back on terms with the leaders, who were now each ploughing ahead exhausted on their own.

It was too late for the field to rescue the contest for gold, with Druyts just about holding off the pack to take the scratch race iconic rainbow bands

Ryan was agonisingly unable to do the same in the silver medal position, and just as the penultimate lap was turning to the final 250 metre loop, the charging bunch had her in their sights and she was quickly closed down and passed, her silver medal disappearing as it was literally about to be hung around her neck.

She was eventually swamped by the pack, fading into it and coming over the line with her head down looking absolutely exhausted in 14th place.

Her keenness to open the gap just after her attack had cost her the legs she needed to hold onto her breakaway companion and take at least silver.

While a fantastic ride by Ryan, she will rue being unable to hold the winner’s wheel for just the couple of hundred metres longer that she needed to medal.

Next up for the Irish is Ryan Mullen and Martyn Irvine who go in the individual pursuit at 5pm Irish time today, Thursday, in an event where Irvine took silver last year.

Then just seven hours later, at midnight Irish time, Irvine goes again in the 15km scratch race where he won the gold medal and world title last year.


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