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Dublin: 9°C Monday 27 September 2021

President Higgins leads tributes to champion Irish rower who died in Poland

Ailish Sheehan from Kildimo, Co Limerick, accidentally fell on a footpath after winning bronze in Poland.

Updated at 6.50pm

CHAMPION IRISH ROWER Ailish Sheehan has died aged 23.

Sheehan from Kildimo, Co Limerick, accidentally fell on a footpath last Sunday evening while celebrating winning a bronze medal at the FISU World University Rowing Championships, in Poznan, Poland.

Sheehan, a former member of St Michael’s Rowing Club, Limerick, was rushed by ambulance to hospital following the incident where she was placed on a life support machine.

A statement from British Rowing and Rowing Ireland today announced that she had since passed.

“Rowing Ireland is deeply saddened to learn of the death of the Ailish Sheehan.

“Ailish, a postgraduate student at Goldsmiths, University of London representing the University of London Boat Club, was involved in an accident after the culmination of the 2016 FISU World University Championships for Rowing in Poznan, Poland on Sunday evening.

“BUCS, British Rowing and Rowing Ireland are providing support to her family during this difficult time and ask for their privacy to be respected.

“British Rowing and the wider rowing family sends their heartfelt condolences to Ailish’s family and friends at this tragic time.

On behalf of everyone at Rowing Ireland, we wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Ailish and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.


In a statement this evening, President Michael D Higgins said he had learned of Ailish’s death “with great sadness”.

“A talented rower and student of design, her loss will be felt acutely by her team mates and colleagues. This is a cruel blow for all those who were so impressed by her rowing success.

As President of Ireland, I would like to extend my sympathy to her family, colleagues and friends.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport and TD for Limerick Patrick O’Donovan also expressed his condolences to Ailish’s family.

“On behalf of the people of Limerick and the sporting community I want to offer my condolences to the family and friends of rower Ailish Sheehan,” he said in a statement. 

The loss of any life is a time of great sadness but when a person of such great promise and so young passes it is a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and the rowing community during this difficult time.

With reporting by Daragh Brophy 

Read: Champion Irish rower in critical condition after freak fall at World University championships

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