Winner – Devil’s Island Trophy

From Ned Denison:

This trophy is given to the Crew (mostly) and Swimmer who completed the most interesting, epic marathon swim during the year by a Cork based swimmer (well known swims like the English Channel are not eligible). Marathon swimming is a “we” event – and this is the time every year when we applaud all the crews (and swimmers) with a special trophy. The selection panel were five swim leaders from the different groups in County Cork.

Sheeps Head Lighthouse to Durrus (26km) **First Time Recorded**

Sean Foley (pilot), O’Mahony Dave (swim coach) and Marie Watson (crew chief)…and Darren Morrisseyy (swimmer)


Darren submitted the following nomination

This swim was initially planned back in 2017 as a 10km swim out on the Sheeps head peninsula but it was never attempted. In the autumn of 2018, I was looking to try getting a ‘big’ swim in during the summer of 2019 and the Sheeps head came back into my mind. Having completed a 10k swim in 2017 I wanted to see if it was an option to swim the entire length of the peninsula and whether it had been done before. I mentioned to Marie that I was looking at doing the swim and it was basically the lightbulb moment. From then on, I was encouraged, cajoled, interrogated, mentored but most of all completely believed in. There was no way that I wasn’t going to not only attempt, but to finish that swim. Marie brought me through nearly every scenario I could possibly face and she drove the training relentlessly. This included doing a course on dealing with hypothermia in swimmers.

Dave O’Mahony is my swim coach the last few years through his association with Crosshaven triclub. Hours upon hours of swimming, coaching and planning was freely given and when I asked him to be part of the crew he didn’t even hesitate to say yes.

Sean Foley was literally my saviour. The week before the swim I needed to explore an alternative boat due to mechanical issues and scheduling conflicts with my original booking. I asked Sean would he know anyone in the area who had a boat and who may have been available. Sean immediately volunteered to do this himself and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The swim came about very quickly after all the drama of trying to get a replacement boat. We organised to make our way to Kilcrohane the evening before the swim with a planned swim start of 06:15. Sean had what only can be described as an eventful passage from Crookhaven around the Mizen and over to collect us outside Kilcrohane. A swim plan was distributed with everyone’s role and responsibilities made clear. The feed plan was put in place and we made our way out to the lighthouse. When we got there, we were concerned about the safety of the swimmer as the water conditions were ‘lumpy’. Marie basically told me to get into the water and start swimming. For me this became an unknowingly long but ultimately incredible day. I learned so much about my capabilities and did so knowing that I had the most amazing crew looking out for me. I didn’t know it at the time but our little whatsapp group for the swim was almost going viral. A Spotify playlist I put together for the swim (Sean’s boat has external speakers) was heard the length and breadth of the peninsula that day. All the feeds went exactly according to plan and at no time was anything allowed to break my concentration. When I needed to be told to speed up or when I inadvertently swam to the boat as they were all dancing to some of the music I picked out, the day went in a blur. I couldn’t recommend a more amazing bunch of people. Their generosity, commitment, knowledge, humour, humility and utter determination is something that I’ll never forget. For me starting out on my long swim journey I couldn’t have had a better bunch of people. They deserve every accolade that can be given to them.

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