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Former rugby player becomes first to row from New York to Galway

Damian Browne on the final stages of his epic journey from New York to Galway. Picture: Project Empower
Allan Preston

A FORMER rugby player has become the first ever person to row from New York to Galway after six weeks at sea.

Damian Browne had a dramatic end to his 112 day journey as stormy conditions forced his vessel ‘Cushlamacree’ into the rocks on the Galway Coast in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

For the former Connacht and Leinster forward, it was agonisingly close to his intended destination of the Port of Galway.

After help from the emergency services, he eventually arrived into Galway Harbour to a hero's welcome after 11am.

Travelling on a speed boat, he lit a red flare in celebration while hundreds cheered and other boats sounded their horns in approval.

He originally set out from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan on June 14 with his friend Fergus Farrell, but health concerns meant his companion had to be airlifted weeks into the journey.

It’s estimated that Mr Browne spent a total of 2,686 hours at sea and rowed over 3,000 nautical miles.

MacDara Hosty, one of the project organisers, said: "While gutted not to have made it to the Port Of Galway, Damian is now reunited with his family, is in good spirits and is very much looking forward to celebrating his amazing achievement with the people of Galway".

Mr Browne is now among a handful of rowers to have crossed the Atlantic in both directions, having previously journeyed from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018.

For good measure, the adventurer also passed the time in between ocean crossings to climb Mount Everest.

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