Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Morgan Treacy/INPHO
# Reaction
'We're dreading going home - Mick Conlan said he'd box the head off us if we didn't get the gold'
Gary and Paul O’Donovan didn’t disappoint with their post-race thoughts on an historic day for Irish sport.


So say Ireland’s history-making Olympic medalists Gary and Paul O’Donovan after their magnificent performance in the men’s lightweight double sculls rowing final in Rio.

The country’s rowers have got close before – fourth in Montreal in 1976 and fourth in Atlanta twenty years later. The podium has always seemed just out of reach.

Until now.

“It’s fantastic”, Paul told RTE’s Joe Stack immediately after the race.

“We haven’t had too much of a chance yet to come to terms with it. We wanted to win the gold medal but to came away with the silver, we’re just so happy. We can’t complain with that.”

Younger brother Gary echoed the sentiment: moments after securing an historic medal, there was still a pang of frustration. Though that famous sense of humour wasn’t far behind.

Gary and Paul O'Donovan celebrate winning silver medals James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“We’re a little bit disappointed we didn’t come away with the gold medal – I think we put it up to the French as best we could”, he said.

We’re dreading going home now because Mick Conlan said he’d box the head off us if we didn’t get the gold”.

“We’re happy to do it for the sport and there’s a buzz around rowing. It’s a fantastic sport. We’re just hoping more people will start to realise it and take it up and give it a go. There are plenty of people out there with two arms and two legs like the two of ourselves and there’ll be more Olympic champions to come, please God.”

The Olympics was the target ever since last year’s World Championship. It’s been a long road but they can bask in the glory of what the tough slog has earned them.

“Our goal was to win the Olympics”, Paul said.

“We knew we’d have to beat one of the best crews in the world in France. They went and made their crew a little bit stronger and to get so close to them and come away with a silver medal, we have to go home happy.

We’re hugely honoured and so proud to be representing Ireland and everyone back home. We’ve been getting some huge support and we’ve gained such a big following after our interviews. You’ve just been asking questions and we’ve been answering them but people have been enjoying it. We’re so proud people are following us and supporting us. We take great pride in that.”

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Joy for Irish rowing as O’Donovan brothers claim historic silver medal at Olympics

Rio Olympics liveblog: Day 7