Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Pull Like A dog

McCarthy and O'Donovan storm into semi-finals with heat victory

Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy put down a marker in Tokyo on another great day for Irish rowing.

IRELAND’S BIG MEDAL hopes Paul O’Donovan and Finbarr McCarthy delivered an excellent performance in the Lightweight men’s doubles sculls rowing heats to advance to the semi-final. 

The Skibbereen clubmen looked comfortable throughout and finished in first place with a time of 6:23.74. Czech Republic came in second with a time of 6:28.10. 

O’Donovan and McCarthy won the European Championship and the World Cup Regatta in the buildup to Tokyo and were earmarked as gold medal contenders once everything went according to plan.  

They stormed out and were clear by 1.83 with 500 metre to go. It was a showing that sends a signal to the rest of the field. There is no doubt it will take something special to stop them from reaching the top of the podium. 

The A/B semi-final will take place on Tuesday morning. 

In the women’s lightweight double, Aoife Casey and Mags Cremen finished fifth in their heat and will need a top-two spot in the repechage to claim a semi-final spot. 

There was further joy for Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty in the women’s fours heats. The Irish quartet pushed the Australians all the way in a two-horse race. Romania were left some way behind as the two battled it out. 

The Irish boat, who achieved third at the European Championships in 2020, eventually finished in second place with a time of 6:28.99. The Aussies winning mark was 6:28.76. On this display, both are strong medal contenders in the A Final.    

On Friday, concerns over an inclement weather forecast forced the World Rowing Executive Committee to change the schedule. The men’s and women’s eights heats will be moved from Sunday to Saturday. Sanita Puspure’s quarter-final has also been brought forward to Sunday.

There is more Irish involvement on Sunday. Casey and Cremen as well as Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska have a second chance at a semi-final spot with their repechage at 2.20am and 1.50am respectively. 

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