OUTGOING Rowing Ireland CEO Hamish Adams believes the success of Skibbereen Rowing Club is an example to all Irish rowing clubs.
Officially the most successful rowing club in the country, with 170 national championship titles to their credit, Skibbereen Rowing Club is the home for Olympic silver medallists and world and European champions, and is widely recognised as the hotbed for Irish rowing.
Outgoing Rowing Ireland CEO Hamish Adams, who is moving to a new role as Chief Executive with Athletics Ireland in May, paid tribute to Skibbereen’s role in rowing’s growth and popularity in Ireland, and challenged other clubs to match the West Cork set-up.
‘If Skibbereen can do it, why can’t other clubs do it?’ Adams asked.
‘It’s a rowing family and community effort to deliver excellence, and they have consistently delivered that excellence over many years now. It’s not a fluke. That’s a credit to everyone involved in the club.
‘Skibbereen has been fantastic in terms of the precocious talent that has come out of the club. They are the number one club in the country and the challenge for every other club is to start chasing them and pulling them back.’
Adams also feels that while Skibbereen Rowing Club has produced several talented international rowers in recent years – Paul and Gary O’Donovan, Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and Denise Walsh – the role of Rowing Ireland shouldn’t be forgotten either.
‘The one thing I would say is that Rowing Ireland has been very efficient in using the limited resources that we have to maximise the potential of those athletes that have come out of Skibbereen. Sometimes that’s not recognised,’ he said.
‘I would describe those athletes – Paul, Gary, Shane, Mark and Denise – as being professional athletes really, and they have moved on from the club, even though the club is and will always be part of their DNA. They have been exposed to the higher level of international racing through Rowing Ireland so I think it has been a very complimentary process between Rowing Ireland and the club.’
The departing Adams also had kind words for Dominic Casey, the man behind Skibbereen Rowing Club who has translated his success at national level to the international stage as Rowing Ireland’s lightweight coach – Olympic silver medals, world lightweight single sculls and pair medals, and European double sculls and pair medals. His success has been noted at international level when he was nominated for 2017 World Coach of the Year.
‘Dominic has proven himself. He has stepped up and delivered,’ Adams said.
‘A few years ago he was an unknown quantity at international level but he has proven himself over these past few years.
‘I don’t think there is any question about the quality that he has produced, he has been fantastic, he was nominated for coach of the year, he has won various awards and that’s all recognition of what he has achieved.
‘He is a guy that we have invested in heavily as well as someone that we want to support, nurture and develop.’