Usually this time of year, we at the “BISH” – St Josephs Rowing Club, Galway are busy finalising for our departure to compete at the British Schools Championships at Dorney Lake. We are a boys school located on the west coast of Ireland and we hold the British championships as an important goal on our racing calendar each year.
We have been making this trip since the 1970s and this year is one of the first missed in many, many years. Our trip entails a 980 miles / 1,576km return journey via plane, train, bus, jeep, ferry – all means of transport open to us! Our boat trailer is usually full to capacity and usually sets off on Wednesday at 6pm from Galway and arrives in Dorney approx. 24 hours later on Thursday evening ready for racing on Friday.
The trip marks one of the main highlights for our athletes as they progress through our school which usually falls 10 days prior to our junior and senior state exams and 2 months prior to our Irish Championships. It gives our senior athletes a huge amount of experience and race sharpening in the lead up to our Irish Championships and also gives our younger athletes a taste of what international rowing on an Olympic course is all about.
We would have 50 athletes from Jnr 14 to Jnr 18 traveling and we compete in sweep and sculling events across the age groups. Our main focus is the Child Beale Cup for 1st Eights and we are so very proud of our history in this prestigious event having won Silver in 1992 and 1998 and winning this coveted trophy in 1989 and 2011.
In the 1990s and 2000’s we would race the Championships then held at Holme Pierrepoint in Nottingham and on the way home to Ireland stop off in Northwich for their regatta – this was a fantastic weekend of racing and one our younger athletes thoroughly enjoyed as we gained the experience of racing a 6 lane course against top class opposition and the following day sampled knock out racing on a 2 lane river course in Northwich.
Over the years we have made some fantastic friends in British Rowing and in the Clubs competing at the Schools Championships and have always been able to borrow a spare boat part, rigger jigger, a boat on a couple of occasions and even got a jump start to our towing vehicle. We would like to thank you all for the welcome to your Schools Championships, your hospitality, courtesy, comradery and for allowing us come back year on year.
It is with great sadness that this year due to COVID19 we will not be making our annual trip to Dorney Lake and that we see the British Schools Championship has been cancelled. It is the correct decision in the current circumstances and we hope that all in our great Rowing Community – In Ireland, Great Britain and across the World are safe, well and Health and this time.
We look forward to coming back next year, in 2021 and racing hard with our friends across the British Schools and British Rowing. We will be back and we will all be stronger.
Stay safe and Thank you.
St Josephs College “The BISH” Rowing Club
1989 Winner of the Child Beale Trophy
Bow Roderick Carr
2 Ciaran Curran
3 David Butler
4 Vincent Breen
5 Roger Daly
6 Nicky Cavalleri
7 Aengus McSweeney
Stk: Johnny Begley
Cox Ruadhan Cooke
Silver Medal Winners in the Child Beale Cup 1992
Back row L to R: Pete Heaney (Coach), Philip Hassel, Ryan Coyne, Joe O’Toole, Paul Martin, Vincent Boyle , Sean McDonagh (Coach).
Front Row L to R: Jamie Bradley, Martin Forde, Jason Connolly, Mark O’Dea and Tim Higgins (Coach)
British Schools Regatta trip 1997
Photo above Back row L to R: Alan O Flaherty, David McLoughlin, Damien Nolan, Liam Faller, John Walsh, Derek Boyd, Alan Martin, Rob O’Connell, Johnny Naughton, Darren O’Byrne, Nigel Concannon, David Higgins, Johnny Begley (Coach)
Front Row L to R: John Garvey, Neil Duggan, David Mannion, Kevin Hayes, John Morris, David Harty, Barry O’Donovan, Tom Curley, Patrick McCarthy, Gordon Reay (Coach) Shane Tannian.
Silver Medal Winners in the Child Beale Cup 1998
From L to R: Liam Faller, David Harty, David McLoughlin, Alan Martin, Jonathan Naughton, John Walsh, Darren O'Byrne, Nigel Concannon, Conor Lydon (Cox - Front row kneeling).
Winners in the Child Beale Cup 2011
Back row L to R: Padraig Lohan, John Walsh (Coaches) Conor Breen, Conor Egan, Aaron Kelly, Dan Hindle, Colm Connelly (cox), Fionnan McQuillan Tolan, Rob O Callaghan, Luis Simo, James Egan, Pete Heaney, Jamie Bradley (Coaches)
St Josephs College “The BISH” competing in Nottingham for the 1st time in 1977
The crew was: F. O'Neill, B O'Brien, M. Crowley, Jimmy Ellwood, Sean Rabbitte, Gerry Conaire, Bernie Walshe, Kieran Tummon(stk.) Mike O'Neill(cox).