ROWING Ireland was delighted to see High Performance Coach, Dominic Casey, named winner of the Outstanding Achievement / Contribution to Sport By An Individual award at the Federation of Irish Sport Industry Awards ceremony in Dublin last night.
Dominic was named joint winner of the award with Paraic Duffy, former GAA director general. Our outgoing CEO Hamish Adams picked up the award in the Smock Alley Theatre on Dominic’s behalf.
The hugely successful Rowing Ireland ‘Get Going Get Rowing’ programme run by Michelle Carpenter was also shortlisted for an award in the Sporting Innovation category which was won by the Dublin Simon Community ‘Gym For The Homeless’ initiative.
Congratulations to all the award nominees and recipients.
Rowing Ireland would like to thank board member, T.J Ryan and Southern Star Sports editor, Kieran McCarthy for their assistance compiling the submission for Dominic’s entry. Dominic has spent a lifetime committed to rowing and more than deserves this recognition of his work and success.
Here’s our entry submission:
Outstanding Achievement / Contribution by an Individual to Irish Sport
Rowing Ireland high performance coach, Dominic Casey – aka Coach Casey – is many things to many people. To Olympic medal winning heroes, Paul and Gary O’Donovan, he’s an inspirational coach and mentor. To European Junior silver medal winning rower, Aoife Casey, he’s a father. To 2004 Athens Olympian, Eugene Coakley, he’s the man who convinced him not to give up rowing back in 1998. To Rowing Ireland CEO, Hamish Adams, he’s a role model for the sport. To anyone who has passed through the doors of Skibbereen Rowing Club he’s a coach, mentor, leader, fountain of knowledge, an inspiration, a friend, a workaholic and the driving force behind the club; but most of all, Dominic’s a genuinely nice guy.
While the athletes have grabbed the headlines for their successes on the international stage, their coach, Dominic Casey, prefers to stand in the shadows away from the media spotlight and he’s always been that way. He’d rather let the rowing do the talking. As a result, despite having been nominated for accolades such as World Rowing Coach of the Year 2017 and RTE Sports Manager of the Year 2017, Dominic has yet to receive the national recognition he deserves for the success story that is the current state of Irish rowing.
And even though the World, European and Olympic medals have come in thick succession in recent years, it doesn’t mean the success has come easily. Dominic Casey, has been eating, sleeping and breathing rowing since his early teens.
From the moment Dominic sat into a boat, he was hooked. It was at a time when Skibbereen RC operated without a club house beside the river Illen but it didn’t stop them achieving success. Dominic Casey soon began to win, achieving eight national titles as an athlete, the first in 1983.
As soon as he retired from rowing, he started coaching and has dedicated his life to his club and the development of the sport since then. Since its foundation, Skibbereen RC has won 170 national championship titles and Dominic has been involved with 169 of those successes, either competing or coaching.
Dominic has led Skibbereen to become the top rowing club in the country, producing Olympic, World and European medal winners – Olympic heroes Paul and Gary O’Donovan, World Champions Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and European Sliver medalist and Olympic Solidarity Scholarship awardee Denise Walsh are all Dominic’s protege and he succeeds with athletes no matter what the level, whether it’s with U14s in Skibbereen or elite international athletes based at the National Rowing Centre (NRC). Dominic treats them all the same, coaching them to be the best they each can be.
‘He is like a father to all of the athletes, he’s there to help people and that’s what he does so well,’ said his daughter, Aoife Casey. “He loves teaching people and he loves seeing others improve. He doesn’t want the fame that’s involved in it. He sees his role as helping people and he’s not in this for himself.”
Former Olympian, Richard Coakley, brother of Eugene, who also developed his rowing prowess under Dominic’s guidance said: ‘Dominic’s main strength is his passion for rowing and his belief that any one of us can be the best in the world if we want it hard enough. He is always looking for ways to improve and that attitude of striving for better is passed down to all the athletes.”
Paul and Gary O’Donovan, back up the stories describing Dominic’s dedication and approach: “When we’re away at international regattas, Dominic sits with other coaches to see what they’re doing and tries to learn as much as he can.”
Rowing Ireland board member and clubmate from his early days in the sport, TJ Ryan added: “Dominic is entirely self taught. He’s continuously developing his coaching knowledge and he will leave no stone unturned to achieve the best results that he can. He’s always working quietly in the background and he doesn’t see anything as impossible or out of reach. His life revolves around rowing and always has and if you could bottle Dominic’s attitude, we’d all be world champions.
To sum up, US Olympic Committee member, Finbarr Kirwan, was recently quoted saying: “I don’t know Dominic but I know his reputation. What he has achieved is tremendous.”