We get out on the water and take a tour one year after Gary and Paul O'Donovan brought home Olympic silver medals...
Last week ahead of our live show from West Cork, we traveled to Skibbereen Rowing Club, the home of the O'Donovan brothers and a new wave of Irish rowers who are making their mark competing at the highest level.
We got a tour of the facility one year after the O'Donovan's Olympic heroics and even got a chance to get out on the water.
Our crew was greeted by club captain Sean O'Brien, he recalled his memories of watching last August's Olympic final:
"I was watching in the Credit Union in Skibbereen - enjoyed the crowd in there. Difficult to watch, it was. It was a close one. I had a son in Rio though/ he was there amongst the gang. I was represented."
"Golly, it was great to see them fighting for a medal and it dawned on us that there was a possibility of getting a gold medal, you know? It was so close. Anyway, we’re willing to wait until Tokyo - so I am saving up for Tokyo now. I might get as far as Tokyo. As we say in West Cork - ‘If the Lord spares me.’"
The club is relatively young, it was founded in 1970 and sent its first rowers to the Olympics in 2000 when Eugene Coakley represented Ireland. Some 20% of Irish rowers who have competed in the games since 2004 been from the Cork club.
Eoin believes that part of the secret is the club's location on the River Ilen:
"It’s the distance we can row I think. In safety we can row most of the year, conditions don’t really beat us that much, you know? There are places we can get out - there’s spots in the river where we can get out to - we can row up to 2km.
"There’s very little activity on this river, you know. What’s done on this river is mostly for pleasure, you know? If you go to more industrialised places where they are trying to row on the rivers, it’s quite difficult," he told Off The Ball.
The club's members credit coach Dominic Casey with laying the foundation for much of its current success, his hand written workout notes line the wall of its Spartan gym facility.
"Dominic Casey always maintained the secret in rowing is getting the mileage. ‘Mileage’ he always says - and you can actually do it here, you know?" Sean concluded.