The group photo shows:

Back row: standing. Ted Owens, RIP (Neptune); Jack Murphy (Neptune); Next 3 QUBC (names lost); Pat Connell (Neptune).

Front row: kneeling, Dave Porteous (QUBC); Jimmy Stitt, cox (QUBC); Mick Murphy (Neptune).

Missing: Nicky Rathbone (sculler).

Dear Gerry,

Thank you for the photos, particularly the one of NRC winning the 1986 Ladies Plate Final against Harvard. How I wish I had been in that boat, but I was born too soon!. The one of that good Junior Four is on my brother Jack’s wall. Apart from Des Bury, they were in the party, along with myself, that went to London in 1964 (see below). In it is dear Des O’Sullivan and that good gentleman Bill Miller. After coaching up and down the bank together, he used to insist I join him in the Stag’s Head, off Dame Street, for steaks and pints

As Seniors, we were always “there or thereabouts” due to personnel problems – people dropping out for exams; emigration; training EVERY night of the week and Saturdays as well was too much for most; poor, or absence of, winter training programmes meant that March crash efforts to get fit meant agonies for the smokers and drinkers who spewed their butts and corks into the bottom of the boat (only a slight exaggeration!). Quite late, though, things did improve when Cyril White (just back from Loughborough Univ.with modern sports physiology and training qualifications and  expertise) came on the scene. For me, a lot of bulbs came on. Until then, the main and very scientific exhortation to maximum effort was “Shit or burst!” from Wally Collins, and from another pressed-into-service coach, who shall be nameless, “You must have determination, but not fixation of determination!” (A half a lifetime later, this still has me scratching my head).

I had a great phone chat with Cyril last year when my daughter, who is in the same line, found his contact details. He is in his 90s now, and is as sharp and enthusiastic as ever.

Here are some photos of the 1964 Home International team in London. The team was a mix of Neptune (4), QUBC (4) and DUBC (sculler).

The group photo shows:

Back row, standing. Ted Owens, RIP (Neptune); Jack Murphy (Neptune); Next 3 QUBC (names lost); Pat Connell (Neptune).

Front row, kneeling, Dave Porteous (QUBC); Jimmy Stitt, cox (QUBC); Mick Murphy (Neptune).

Missing: Nicky Rathbone (sculler).

After the series of eight and both fours; and scull races, we finished a close 2nd to England on points. It would have been closer had  the volatile Nicky not jumped the start in one of his races (that’s for your own eyes). Weird and eccentric as he was, he was still a comic character and a real will o’ the wisp. He was never to be found!

Some memories:

We had a great week in glorious Summer weather. We were put up in a good hotel near Hyde Park, compliments of the sponsors, the News of the World newspaper.; Walking through Hyde Park to training twice a day ; Pretty young nannies in bikinis and little stand-up white lace Nanny caps walking their prams with their infant charges (very exotic for the likes of us!) ; The song of that year, “It’s a Hard Day’s Night” to be heard everywhere – it’s still a leitmotiv for me; Great envy of Jimmy Stitt, our cox. He had just graduated in zoology and after the regatta was due to fly out to Tanzania to his first job in that wild life wonderland, the Serengeti; On our way home, when standing on the platform in Euston Station together waiting for our train to put our oars in the guard’s van, a huge block of concrete or masonry detached itself from the underside of the high roof and crashed about 2 ft from where I stood, exploding in all directions. I would certainly have been pulped if it had got me in the head. But such is the swing of luck – and by that margin I lived to be married almost exactly a year later.

I have some – not a lot – of pots to show for my years in rowing; but far more to be cherished are the friendships I made and the camaraderie we shared. If I hadn’t moved from Dublin and got knee-deep in a new place with a young family, I would have been more in touch. But I did follow the Club’s progress in the papers as best I could, not least the exploits of Sean Drea.


All the best,


Mick Murphy,

(as I was known from Day 1).