University College Cork is celebrating the medal-winning successes by its students and graduates at Tokyo 2020.
Overall, there are seven undergraduates from UCC at the Olympics in Tokyo, meaning it has more students on Team Ireland than any other in the country.
Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy- current and former UCC students respectively - secured Ireland’s first ever Olympic gold medal in rowing at the Tokyo games,
It comes just 24 hours after the women’s four - including UCC student Emily Hegarty and alumna Aifric Keogh - won bronze, the first ever Olympic medal for Irish women's rowing.
Paul, who is a Quercus scholar studying Medicine at UCC, spoke to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland about balancing his sporting and academic life:
“I’m going into Third Year now of the Graduate Entry Programme at UCC, and they have been very accommodating as well in fairness, they have been good to me, gave me some time off there.
"I did a little bit up until December last year, and then they let me off, but I’ll have to pick it up again now once I get home, there’ll be no let-up, but that’s alright,” he said.
🥇🥇We are all SO hugely proud & in awe of Paul ODonovan and Fintan McCarthy’s huge achievement at #Tokyo2020 today - one a @UCC student and another a @UCC graduate 👏#wearecork pic.twitter.com/DTER7ufg6H
— Cork City Council #StaySafe (@corkcitycouncil) July 29, 2021
“There’s a lot of study to do, and then you’re trying to do a lot of training as well, but I like both things, you know? So when you’re interested then you take a lot of enjoyment from that and just trying to balance it too, it’s good fun as well.”
Fintan McCarthy meanwhile studied at UCC as well and graduated with a degree in physiology.
Team Ireland’s UCC contingent in Tokyo includes current students Tara Hanlon and Lydia Heaphy, who were reserves for the women’s rowing crew and women’s lightweight rowing crew respectively.
Speaking about their success, UCC Rowing club captain, Hugh Sutton, said: “The club is ecstatic. You feel part of it when you know them so well. They are not just off the TV and you feel you have contributed in whatever small way to an amazing achievement by both our women and male rowers.”
Interim UCC president John O’Halloran offered congratulations to the Olympians saying: “We are so enormously proud of our UCC undergraduate students and alumni who have made history Tokyo Olympics.
“It is an incredibly proud day not just for the student themselves, but for their families, coaches, and the academic and professional support staff here in UCC.
“All seven student rowers are on full scholarships from the Quercus Talented Students Programme. On behalf of everyone at UCC I want to congratulate each one of them for representing Ireland with distinction at the Olympics.”