Obituary – Ailish Sheehan

Ailish’s friends at the University of London Boat Club, Lottie Bruce and Georgia Statham, remember her.


On Friday, 9 September 2016, Ailish Sheehan sadly passed away in Poland following a tragic accident after the culmination of the 2016 FISU World University Championships for Rowing in Poznan, Poland on Sunday, 4 September.

Ailish’s friends at the University of London Boat Club, Lottie Bruce and Georgia Statham, remember her.


Trying to put Ailish down on paper is quite simply impossible. Nothing can be said that would express the unfathomable wonderful person she was and will forever be remembered.

Ailish showed us how to be a true athlete. She helped us to expect more of ourselves, to chase our dreams unapologetically but most importantly, to enjoy the ride along the way. One could feel her genuine happiness when those around her achieved their goals and we know how unbelievably proud everyone around her was when she achieved hers; winning Womens’ Henley Regatta senior fours, winning numerous BUCS medals – including becoming BUCS indoor champion – and a bronze medal at the University World Games this summer.

Prior to rowing at the University of London Boat Club, Ailish learnt to row at St. Michael’s Rowing Club in Limerick before attending Notre Dame University in America, representing Ireland at the U23 World Championships in 2013.

Ailish has undeniably left a strong legacy at the University of London Boat Club. Since joining the club in September 2015, she was a formidable athlete and the core of our team; all athletes aspired to be like her. The commitment not only to her own training but to the team was inspiring, she was a role model as well as a team mate.

There was nothing quite like racing in a boat with Ailish; it meant it was going to do something special.

Above all, it has to be said, that Ailish’s flame burned too bright for it ever to be extinguished, her laugh far too loud for it ever to go silent, and was far too loved to ever leave our hearts.

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