BY KIERAN McCARTHY
at Áras an Uachtaráin
SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club has received the presidential seal of approval.
Up to 150 club members packed Áras an Uachtaráin last Saturday evening for a special reception hosted by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, as the Skibbereen club’s success and contribution to Irish sport was recognised and celebrated.
President Higgins hailed ‘an extraordinary club’ that has transformed the sport of rowing nationally.
‘In this new golden era of Irish rowing, many of your athletes have now become role models to a new generation of young rowers. The importance of this cannot be understated,’ President Higgins said. ‘I wish to thank you all for the example your club has given to the country of what can be achieved when communities work together towards a common good. You have shown that when we come together with dedication to a common purpose we can, all of us, accomplish great and remarkable feats.’
Before his speech, President Higgins and his wife Sabina met each member of the club indiviually, and when it was Olympic silver medallist Gary O’Donovan’s turn, Mr Higgins quipped, ‘Tis yourself!’.
Gary was joined at Áras an Uachtaráin by fellow Skibb and Irish rowers Paul O’Donovan, Denise Walsh and Shane O’Driscoll. He said afterwards that last Saturday’s historic occasion was important for everyone in the club.
‘We always say that we could never do what we do unless the doors of the rowing club were open,’ Gary explained. ‘I have often said it goes deeper than the people who are directly involved in the club. This is one of these special days where you get to show those people what they have done is worthwhile and important,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘This is proof that what they are doing is so important and we couldn’t do what we are doing without them.’