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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 29 May, 2020

Successful day overall for Team Ireland at Europeans, but O'Donovan misses out

Sanita Puspure, and Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne won their respective heats.

Gary O'Donovan (file pic).
Gary O'Donovan (file pic).
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

IT WAS A rather successful morning for Team Ireland in Lucerne, Switzerland, on the first day of the European Championships, with four of five crews through to their respective semi-finals, two wins and just one fall at the first hurdle.

World champion Sania Puspure and the double team of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne powered to victory in their respective heats, but Gary O’Donovan finished sixth — and last — in his first outing at international level in the lightweight single scull. 

Without his brother Paul who’s focusing on academic studies, the Skibbereen man is flying solo — and went on to compete in a repechage for a semi-final spot. He took fourth place there, one outside the qualifying places so he will now compete in the C final tomorrow.

Elsewhere, 37-year-old Puspure will undoubtedly be going for gold. The Latvia-born sculler, who now lives in Ballincollig, laid down a marker in her heat as she went head-to-head with Britain star Vickey Thornley, but sprinted away to finish five seconds faster. 

Sanita Puspure on the way to winning her heat Sanita Puspure (file pic). Source: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

Doyle and Byrne stormed to victory in the first race of the day with Irish involvement, leaving Romania for dead after they were the only boat to properly challenge the combination.

Skibbereen twins Fintan and Jake McCarthy finished second in their lightweight double sculls heat, also securing semi-final qualification.

Another Skibbereen duo, Lydia Heaphy and Denise Walsh, also impressed as they took third in their lightweight double sculls heat. They’re a newly-formed crew, so qualifying for the semi-final will bring them great confidence.

row Source: Rowing Ireland Twitter.

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Emma Duffy

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