BY BRIAN MOORE
THERE was, so they say, no real doubt that having reached the final of the Olympic final of the lightweight men’s sculls that the O’Donovan brothers were going to come away with some form of metal to hang around their necks.
In fact, some have even said that as Gary and Paul ‘pulled like a dog’ in Rio they had a third man in the boat with them the whole time.
That third man, is not only a legend at the Skibbereen Rowing club, but he’s also the silent driving force behind so many other national and European success stories that he is known as a role model for many others involved with the sport across the country and beyond.
That third man, is now an Olympic medal winning coach and mentor, Dominic Casey.
Dominic could be likened to a duck, gliding across the top of the water effortlessly, barely causing a ripple on the surface, while all the time powering his way to his goal. And that’s just the way he likes it. However, this silent backroom dynamo has been pushed out into the bright Brazilian light of success and his achievements not only in Rio, in Varese, in Lucerne, in Poznan or in Skibbereen, must now be celebrated by all those who have been lucky enough to have Dominic as a coach, a mentor and friend.
‘He is like a father to all of the athletes, he’s there to help people and that’s what he does so well,’ said his daughter Aoife, who won four national rowing titles.
Many, many more rowers have echoed Aoife’s words down through the 30 years that Dominic has been part of the rowing club in Skibbereen.
Kenneth McCarthy, the 16 times national rowing champion who spoke of the impact Dominic made on his rowing career, said that the inspiration and guidance he and so many other rowers received from their coach could not be measured.
‘He is a true leader. He’s a nice guy, he’s fair and honest, and he wants the best for everyone. When Gary and Paul were pulling hard heading for the line in Rio, Dominic was right there in the boat pulling every stroke with them,’ Kenneth said.
Back in Rio, as the O’Donovan brothers celebrated their win immediately after the final, Dominic Casey was, true to form, not saying very much. ‘Dominic wasn’t saying very much after we won the silver,’ Paul O’Donovan said.
‘He was just smiling away with a happy smile and you know him, he was straight on to me to focus for the worlds in Rotterdam.
‘But he was a little nervous too, because he realised then that he had to do some interviews on the television.
‘He wanted to pull the peak cap down over his face but we wouldn’t let him.’
This time the silent Dominic could duck the limelight and as Gary and Paul, the now seasoned TV interviewees, said after his interview with RTE, ‘He didn’t do a bad job.’
The last word has to go to Nuala Luton, president of the Skibbereen Rowing Club who summed up Dominic perfectly with one simple sentence: ‘He loves rowing.’