‘Once a Bann man, always a Bann man’

Joel pictured with his parents Charlie and Anna, Seamus Reynolds (coach) and Keith Leighton (Captain).
Joel pictured with his parents Charlie and Anna, Seamus Reynolds (coach) and Keith Leighton (Captain).

It has been a remarkable year for Joel Cassells, but he was left ‘speechless’ last week as another honoured was bestowed on him.

Bann Rowing Club have recognised the fantastic achievements of their ‘Old Boy’ by naming a boat after him.

He follows in the footsteps of fellow GB teammates, Alan Campbell, and the Chambers’ brothers, Peter and Richard, as well as the legendary Bobby Platt, who have all had boats named in their honour.

Speaking to Times Sport the 22-year-old admitted it will be a bit surreal seeing his boat race up and down the Bann.

“Yeah it will be a strange sight seeing the boat go up and down the Bann, but hopefully it will do very well,” he said.

“I have rowed in the boats named after our three Olympians and also rowed in the ‘Bobby Platt’ eight.

“I was very shocked when I came down to the club to find out what was happening.

“I was completely taken aback by it, I was speechless.

“I’m immensely proud to be from here, as they say ‘Once a Bann man, always a Bann man’.

“This has really honed the point for me and I will always go over to England but be very proud of where I come from.

“I hope the boat has many successes.

“I want to bring Sam (Scrimgeour) over some time to have a go on it, maybe we’ll take it racing.

“It’s a carbon reverse swing, it’s top of ythe range and the very first of its kind to be down here at Bann.

“I think it will give the athletes here a good competitive edge when it comes to the Irish Championships and other events.”

Joel is hoping the boat can help add to the growing list of Bann Rowing Club representatives in the GB squad.

“Always love coming down to Bann and watching the training and seeing who are the next big names coming through,” he said.

“Four years may seem like a long time but it’s really not.

“I never thought when Richard (Chambers) came back in 2008 that I would be in that position in eight years time.

“So there is a lot of potential with the time and effort the coaches put in here at Bann I’ve every confidence there will be plenty more rowers come through.

“I was inspired by what I saw in 2012, I then took every opportunity as it arose, I didn’t expect anything, but when the opportunities came I jumped at them and then I aimed at the next thing.

“I hope I can provide a bit of inspiration for the guys and girls at Bann now and I hope some can join us in the squad in the future.”