All clubs in iconic Colours Boat Race to be captained by women for first time

All clubs in iconic Colours Boat Race to be captained by women for first time All clubs in iconic Colours Boat Race to be captained by women for first time
Grace Fisher

The 73rd Colours Boat Race will see Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin go head-to-head on the River Liffey Saturday, 25th March from 12:30pm. This year, for the first time in the race's history, all four participating clubs will be captained by women.

The race will see teams from both schools row from O’ Connell Bridge to St. James’ Gate. Watch the high tempo start at O’ Connell Bridge, the mid-course battle at Four Courts or the sprint for the line at the dedicated viewing area at St. James’ Gate on Victoria Quay.

The annual colours boat race began in 1947 and comprises the Gannon Cup for the senior men’s 8+, the Corcoran Cup for the senior women’s 8+, the Dan Quinn Shield for the novice men’s 8+ and the Sally Moorehead for the novice women’s 8+. The event offers a unique spectacle on the river Liffey with each race consisting of two 60ft racing boats, each with eight rowers and a coxswain.

For the first time, all four clubs in the series will be captained by women. Isabel Doyle leads Dublin University Boat Club (TCD's men's club); she is first woman to hold the position in the club's 187-year history (it was founded in 1836). Isabel is following in the footsteps of her brother and father William and Michael Doyle, both of whom also captained the DUBC.  Similarly, Shauna Fitzsimons is the first female captain of the UCD Men's Boat Club since its founding in 1917 (106 years ago).


The milestone, which comes at a time when female leadership is being increasingly normalised in both men's and women's sport, is especially significant given the visibility and iconic status of the race.

“Colours is one of the premier dates in the Irish rowing calendar and has a great historical significance. It represents some of the highest level of amateur sport and competition in Ireland, fittingly taking place through the heart of our capital city,” commented Doyle.

Alicia O’ Neill, Captain of Dublin University Ladies Boat Club, commented, “Colours is one of the highlights of our rowing season. It’s the only race where we can row down the Liffey through the heart of Dublin City Centre and where spectators can watch the race from start to finish. Both our senior and novice squads are more than ready to race, and we are looking forward to the 25th of March to showcase the very best of DULBC. UCD are one of our biggest rivals and we are eager to go out and challenge them and hopefully claim the bragging rights for the year!”

Ellie Scott, Captain of UCD Women’s Boat Club, commented, "I am really excited to be racing once again in The Colours Boat Races. It is always an honour to represent your college while racing through the centre of Dublin.”


Shauna Fitzsimons, Captain of UCD Men’s Boat Club, commented, "It’s always a special race, remembering one of our great Captains Ciaran Gannon and we’re delighted so many of his family are able to make the trip to Dublin this year to join us for this historic boat race."

Though there's a long way to go, the prominence of women's leadership in this year's Colour Boats Races is an inspiring example and a step forward on the path to gender equality in sport.

Colours Boat Race Schedule, Saturday, 25th March 2023:

12:30pm – Sally Moorehead Trophy

1:00pm – Dan Quinn Shield

1:30pm – Corcoran Cup

2:00pm – Gannon Cup

The coin toss for the 2022 Colours Boat Races took place on the Sunday, 5th March at the dining hall of Trinity College Dublin, overseen by the Minister for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne. Dublin University Boat Club won the toss and will take the north station for the Gannon Cup and the Dan Quinn shield. Dublin University Ladies Boat Club won their coin toss and chose to race on the north station for the Corcoran Cup and the Sally Moorhead Trophy.

For more information on the Colours Boat Race please click here.

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