BY MARTIN WALSH
DOMINIC Casey’s contribution to the local rowing scene was recognised at the West Cork Sports Star Awards when he was presented with the Hall of Fame award.
It was a surprise announcement on the night with only the judging panel in on the secret, so there was widespread excitement when Casey was revealed as the latest inductee. He deservedly received a standing ovation.
A driving force behind the success of Skibbereen Rowing Club for many, many years and the coach of Olympic silver medallists and European champions, Gary and Paul O’Donovan, Dominic has helped give rowing in West Cork a profile it’s never had before.
It’s no secret that he is much happier being behind the scenes, yet his appointment by Rowing Ireland as a high performance coach of the lightweight group means he won’t be resting on his oars anytime soon.
Right from the beginning, Dominic’s philosophy on rowing is a reflection of his humble character.
‘I try and do my best for everybody in the club, but it’s not just me, there are a lot of people in the background who make the club tick everyday,’ Dominic said.
‘Even when the club (formed in 1970) were struggling at times, there were various chairmen, secretaries, coaches – all of whom did so much work and it’s great that all these people have put in this work. The success of the boys (Gary and Paul) and the club is due to all these people that put in the work, not just me.’
Skibbereen Rowing Club has won 163 national championships, 13 coming in 2016 as it officially became the most successful rowing club in the country.
‘The success started with Nuala Lupton, she won the first championship for the club in 1976 and from then on people starting winning,’ he said.
Skibbereen’s current Olympians, Gary and Paul O’Donovan, are different, Dominic has seen their progression and acknowledges that their success has elevated the sport to a hitherto unprecedented level that it will benefit the sport.
‘The boys, they are so relaxed, they take it in their stride, they’re great rowers, they train hard and are not afraid of hard work. Even before the Olympic final they were so relaxed, nothing fazes them. The way they operate is fantastic,’ Dominic said.
Regards his new full-time role as Rowing Ireland High Performance Coach, he quipped, ‘I’m coaching since 2000 and have coached other crews to high standards. It is nice to get the job and I will try and do my best. It is very similar to what I was doing last year, up and down to Cork and coaching the athletes that are there.’
Dominic’s overview of the sport is simple: ‘The training programme is relatively unchanged over 20 years. It is based on endurance training, a lot of mileage in the water and keep it as simple as possible.’
True to his persona, Dominic concluded, ‘It is nice to get this award but I accept it on behalf of all the club.’