Why I Row Interview 07
by Michelle Conway / Sept. 01, 2019

Name: Neil Keaveney
Occupation: Director of Technology, TG4

1. When did you begin rowing?

I began rowing in 2015 at a Tribes beginners rowing boot camp,

2. Why?

It was an ambition of mine for many years. In my twenties I worked beside the Phoenix park near Island bridge. At lunch time I used to love watching the rowers out on the Liffey. To me it looked so graceful, co-ordinated and calm, little did I know. I’ve been heavily involved with Rugby for years but once my kids grew up and I had some free time the first thing I did was sign up to the boot camp and haven’t looked back since.

3. Do you have a favourite seat?

I guess the seat I like most is the one right behind Stroke, I think you’ve none of the responsibilities but have great understanding of what the cox wants from Stroke. I really enjoy sitting in Stroke too but given the weekly feedback I get from my rowing buddies I clearly have absolutely no aptitude for it.

4. What was your top challenge?

Learning to ignore the weekly feedback I get from my rowing buddies!! I think I really struggled with the level of concentration required initially. My mind tends to bounce around a lot and when that happens my technique suffers. However, the more hours I’ve put in on the river the easier it has become to concentrate and stop my mind wandering.

5. What is one thing you would like to learn/improve? Top goal.

My top goal this year is to progress from Square blade rowing. Seriously, I always wanted to be competent in a single. The one time I tried it, I spent more time under the boat than in it. I’ve been advised to spend some time in a fine double (Volunteers please, thanks PG) and then look at one of the camps maybe Seville, so who knows where I will be next year.

6. Favourite Spin?

One of my favourite spins was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Not long after we started, Paul Gillen and I, for reasons that still escape me, took the blue double out for a spin. After fifteen or so minutes we managed to get around the Jes corner only to come under the watch-full eye of Joe in the launch. Joe quickly identified that we were a hazard, not only to other boat users but all wildlife and river navigation infrastructure. Joe took it upon himself to get us up the river as quickly as possible.

As we meandered from side to side he coached, cajoled and cursed us all the way to the lake at which point he reckoned we could cause no harm to anyone or anything and he told us to “Feck Off” over to Annaghdown. We waited till he was gone before we dared sneak back down. It was just great fun. I feel privileged every time I row up the river. I think we have one of the most wonderful waterways in the country, nothing short of magical on a summers evening.

7. What do you love most about rowing?

Picking up on one of the last points, apart from the obvious health benefits which are many, I genuinely find it great fun. Never having rowed with other clubs I can’t comment on them but I find the camaraderie and support in Tribes fantastic. The trip to Germany this summer is a case in point. Also when we’re out for our Sunday afternoon, Social, Bob Marley rows, I find the banter on the boat just hilarious.

Whether its Puddles Deegan giving out about doing all the work (again) or Eoin G and his damn Garmin watch telling us we should be in the over 90s category given our stroke rate or Paul being the true gentleman he is, trying to be encouraging and foster peace while Pete and Padraic B fillet someone else on the boat and then there’s Padraig O’C making us row down the river with our eyes closed. It’s all just great craic. Big shout out must also go to Dave Curran, the standard of our Sunday post row wine and cheese sessions has gone up several notches since he joined us. So nothing more to say than “See you on the river Darlings !!!”