The powerful Irish crew of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy showed their class in winning gold at the 2021 European Rowing Championships in Italy today.
The world champions were in third place going into the second half of the race, but are known for their powerful finish. And by 1500m they moved ahead of Italy into second. And minutes later they surged into the lead overtaking the German crew.
And from there they pushed away and won by clear water.
"It was a decent race, it’s good to be back," said Paul after the gold medal win. "I was off last season so Fintan raced in the single last year. Fintan is just dragging me along in the double. We need bigger biceps. We’re gonna work on some curls which will see us through to the end of the summer.”
Earlier, Emily Hegarty of Skibbereen and UCC Rowing Club stroked Ireland to a fantastic silver.
The Women’s Four of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe (Old Collegians BC), Aifric Keogh (UCC RC) and Fiona Murtagh (NUIG BC) showed their talent when they put in a huge push through the second half of the 2000m race and only narrowly missed out on taking gold behind the Dutch.
This was an extremely powerful Irish performance to become European silver medallists.
“The medal this year means a lot to us because we're so close to Olympic qualification," said Aifric after the silver win. "A lot of crews From Ireland are already qualified, and for us to be able to finish that close to the Dutch is a really huge confidence boost.”
In total there were six Skibbereen rowers taking part in the finals today. Lydia Heaphy finished sixth in her final earlier this morning, while Gary O’Donovan finished fourth. Aoife Casey of Skibbereen finished fifth in the Women's Lightweight Pair alongside Margaret Cremen. Killorglin’s Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished sixth in their final.