SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club is proving just as successful out of the water as it is on it.
Just before the heroic Olympic exploits of Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy, and Emily Hegarty in Tokyo, the progressive club signed a three-and-a-half-year sponsorship deal with global telecommunications company Spearline.
It, too, is based on the banks of the Ilen River, establishing its headquarters there in 2019.
Spearline is a technology company that proactively monitors toll, toll-free and premium-rate numbers for audio quality and connectivity across the world.
It has offices in Waterford, Romania, and India and the Spearline platform enables enterprises and telecommunications service providers to test connectivity and audio quality on global telecoms networks, automatically testing at volume.
The company has conducted millions of test calls worldwide, resulting in billions of data points.
It has global network coverage and operates 24-7-365 a year to support its international customers.
The rowing club was established 51 years ago with a single dream of bringing Olympic class rowing to the town.
It has surpassed all expectations, being the most successful rowing club in Ireland with an impressive total of 181 national championship titles.
Fittingly, Skibbereen took centre stage in the history-making Games with a first gold medal in the sport and a breakthrough medal for a woman’s crew.
O’Donovan and McCarthy carved their names in Irish sport forever with their victory in the lightweight double sculls final as did Hegarty with her bronze in the women’s four.
It was Ireland’s seventh gold medal in the history of the Olympics with O’Donovan now a double medallist following his silver in Rio in 2016.
In addition, the pair broke the world record time in the semi-final, crossing the line in 6.05.33 to overtake the previous best set seven years ago.
It was a glorious return from the biggest rowing team ever with six crews, 13 athletes, four reserves and seven coaching and support staff in Tokyo.
Of the six crews, four finished in the top 10 and the others were just outside in 11th and 12th positions.
And the future is bright as Tokyo was the first Olympic experience for many and a lot of them are in their early 20s, suggesting Paris in three years is very much in their sights.
And the future is also represented by another promising west Cork rower, Lauren McCarthy-Steele in the important Coupe de la Jeunesse for juniors in Linz, Austria, this weekend.
The Skibbereen rower is joined in the quad by Munster colleagues Caoimhe O’Sullivan from the Muckross club in Kerry and Anna Keating from the Shannon club in Limerick.
And next week in Bulgaria, another Skibbereen member, Oisin Boyle, partners Martin O’Grady from Athlone RC in the double sculls in the World Junior Pairs.
Both Skibbereen and Spearline representatives spoke about the importance of the sponsorship deal.
Lorraine McCarthy, Chief People and Culture Officer at Spearline, explained the synergy between the two parties.
“We are delighted to be sponsoring the Skibbereen Rowing Club. As a growing, global company, we understand the importance that the club places on continuous learning, development, dedication and passion for what they do.
“These are all core values that we at Spearline also strive to embody.”
Sean Murran, Chairperson of Skibbereen RC said: “The club are immensely proud of our rowers and coach Dominic Casey.
The ongoing success of our athletes would not be possible without the generous support of the people and businesses of Skibbereen and the west Cork area and our main sponsor Spearline.
“We are particularly delighted to be associated with Spearline and thank them for their generous sponsorship and look forward to working in partnership with them into the future.”
Caroline Leonard, Senior Marketing Manager at Spearline added: “From humble beginnings in Skibbereen, we have both risen to achieve international success in our respective fields and we look forward to furthering our achievements together.”
Club president and Skibbereen’s first international rower, Nuala Lupton, commented: “I am delighted that the thriving Skibbereen-based business Spearline has rowed in to partner with our successful club — both based in the rural town of Skibbereen and on the beautiful Ilen River.”
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