Relaxed attitudes pay off for West Cork’s rowing heroes

Relaxed attitudes pay off for West Cork’s rowing heroes

Coach Dominic Casey, on left, with Paul O’Donovan, Gary O’Donovan (Silver Medals - Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls); Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll (Gold Medals -Lightweight Pair) and Denise Walsh (Silver Medal - Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls) after their success at the European Championships in the Czech Republic. Picture: INPHO

THE heroics of the Skibbereen rowers is the talk of the country, but the real question on curious lips is: what's the secret to their success?

There are a number of opinions about the magic recipe behind the five rowers who took home gold and silver medals at the European Championships held in the Czech Republic over the weekend.

West Cork councillor Patrick Murphy believes coach Dominic Casey is a key element in what is driving Skibbereen rowers to glory.

“He has been in charge of the Skibbereen rowing club for the last 20+ years. He created the O’Donovan brothers and since they promoted him to become a high-performance coach with Rowing Ireland they have been winning medals left, right and centre.” 

Dominic is typically humble about the winning formula. “It’s all about training hard, putting in the work and getting results.

“We have a good club and we are getting better at it.” 

Dominic was full of praise for his proteges and said their attitude to life was probably a key component in what makes them such impressive athletes.

“They are all very relaxed. They separate training from their personal lives and they combine rowing with the rest of their lives. They have a full plate, other things to focus on and that is a big part of it.” 

Gold medallist Mark O’Donovan agreed with his coach that everything in moderation is the way to go.

“It helps if you can separate your personal life from your professional life. Otherwise, you become too focused and you have nothing to fall back on. You are better off with a dual career, it helps to take your attention off things.” The five rowers, who have been away for the bones of a month with races and training camps, were delighted to be back home after a tiring few weeks.

‘It’s good to be back on Irish soil,” Mark said.

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