Latest: Skibbereen's Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy win World gold for Ireland; Sanita Puspure takes bronze

Sanita Puspure takes bronze; Cork and Belfast rowers take silver, while Kerry's Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska also power to silver medal
Latest: Skibbereen's Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy win World gold for Ireland; Sanita Puspure takes bronze

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan of Ireland celebrate with their gold medals after victory in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls Final A during day three of the 2021 World Rowing World Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Ireland's Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy of Skibbereen won a fantastic gold again at World Rowing Cup II in Switzerland today.

Germany burst out of the blocks and took the lead, but were soon overtaken by Italy, while Ireland found themselves in last place.

But soon they upped the tempo and moved up to fifth, fourth, and third and into second and then took the lead by the 1,000m mark. From there they stormed into the lead and dominated for the closing half of the race, taking gold from Norway in silver and Germany in bronze.

Paul O'Donovan told World Rowing: "It was a really rough race, Norway were pushing us all the way down. They’re really tough competitors. I’m a bit fatigued now. The coach will allow us half a day off now!"

Meanwhile, in an eagerly awaited Women's Single Sculls final Sanita Puspure of Ballincollig, County Cork, won the bronze medal, beaten to gold by Hanna Prakhatsen of Russia.

Sanita Puspure of Ireland celebrates with her bronze medal in the Women’s Single Sculls A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Sanita Puspure of Ireland celebrates with her bronze medal in the Women’s Single Sculls A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

In the first 500m Sanita was in fifth position before moving up to fourth while Austria Magdalena Lobnig led. And maintained that lead briefly over Russia's Hanna Prakhatsen. This final pitched World Champion Sanita against the European Champion Hanna Prakhatsen of Russia, who won European gold recently at the event where Sanita didn't compete. And this was the clash we'd all been waiting for, with an Olympics looming.

At the 1000m mark the Russian took over the lead, followed by USA and Sanita in third. At the 1500m it remained the same, and in the final 500m the Russian controlled her lead and won gold, followed by Kara Kohler of USA in silver and Sanita in third.

Sanita Puspure told World Rowing: "I gave it my best. I know I will be behind the whole team in terms of my form. It was a tough race and I didn’t necessarily expect to be on the podium but it was really exciting to race."

Earlier, in a thrilling race Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle won silver for Ireland at World Rowing Cup II in Switzerland.

Cork's Ronan Byrne (UCC) and Philip Doyle (Belfast) competed in the Men’s Double Sculls final, and were immediately in contention from the start, briefly moving into second before moving back to third in the first 500m.

Philip Doyle, right, and Ronan Byrne of Ireland with their silver medals after competing in the Men’s Double Sculls A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Philip Doyle, right, and Ronan Byrne of Ireland with their silver medals after competing in the Men’s Double Sculls A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Approaching the 1,000m mark they again moved into second, and then into first place as they crossed the 1,000m mark. Back as a pair they began to take control, just holding off the Chinese.

At the 1500m mark there wasn't much to separate both boats, with Ireland still leading.

The Chinese then put on a sprint and overtook the Irish, who responded to retake the lead. Neck-and-neck they battled it out, with China just nicking gold with Ireland finishing in silver.

Afterwards Philip Doyle told World Rowing: "It was really good. It’s nice to show what we’re capable of. We lose contact with each other over the winter but once we start coming together, we know we have that basic boat speed. It’s promising coming up to the Olympics, but it keeps us hungry."

In the next race Ireland's Daire Lynch of Clonmel finished sixth in the Men's Single Sculls final.

Earlier, Ireland's Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley won silver in the Women's Pair at World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland, this morning.

Monika Dukarska, left, and Aileen Crowley of Ireland with their silver medals after winning second place in the Women’s Pair A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Monika Dukarska, left, and Aileen Crowley of Ireland with their silver medals after winning second place in the Women’s Pair A Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Romania led from early on and were being challenged by Spain, who soon took up the lead, while in the closing 1000m Ireland's Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley began to make their move, moving up in to third and challenging a tiring Romania.

In a thrilling dash to the line the Irish pair powered over the line to clinch silver, with Romania in third.

Ireland's Tara Hanlon (Cork) and Claire Feerick also competed in the women's pair final and finished in fifth position.

23 May 2021; Team Ireland, from right, Ross Corrigan, John Keane, Alex Byrne and Jack Dorney compete in the Men's Four B Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
23 May 2021; Team Ireland, from right, Ross Corrigan, John Keane, Alex Byrne and Jack Dorney compete in the Men's Four B Final during day three of the FISA World Cup Rowing II at Lake Gottersee in Lucerne, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

First up this morning, Cork rowers Jack Dorney (Shandon BC), Alex Byrne (UCC RC), John Kearney (UCC RC) and Ross Corrigan (Queens) competed in the Men's Four B final and placed third, and ninth overall.

Yesterday there was joy for Skibbeeen's Lydia Heaphy, when she won a World silver in Lightweight Single Sculls.

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