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O'Donovan and McCarthy win gold for Ireland at European Rowing Championships

Silver in Varese for Irish women’s four of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh.

McCarthy and O'Donovan: world, and now European, champions.
McCarthy and O'Donovan: world, and now European, champions.
Image: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

Updated Apr 11th 2021, 1:14 PM

WORLD CHAMPIONS PAUL O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy added European honours to their collection with victory at the European Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy.

The Irish crew pulled clear in the final 500 metres of the lightweight men’s double sculls to take gold ahead of Germany and Italy.

O’Donovan and McCarthy qualified for the final as favourites after setting the fastest time in both Friday’s heats and again in Saturday’s semi-finals.

And they rubber-stamped their Olympic credentials with an assured performance to reel in their rivals.

Germany’s Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne led at the half-way mark, with Italy’s Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta disputing second place with Ireland.

But from there, it was all Ireland as O’Donovan and McCarthy showed their class to win in 6:18.14.

It was the second medal of a memorable day for the Irish crews, joining the Ireland women’s four who claimed a superb silver after they narrowly lost out to the Netherlands in a sprint finish.

The quartet of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh showed great strength over the third 500m to reel in their rivals from Great Britain and move through into second place.

Ireland still had a boat length to find on the Netherlands in the closing stages, and although they did enough to make it a fight to the finish, the long-time leaders had enough in reserve to hold on and take the gold in 6:27.51.

Ireland crossed 0.45 seconds behind in 6:27.96 with Great Britain following home in third.

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Earlier on Sunday, Gary O’Donovan finished fourth in the A final of the lightweight men’s single sculls while Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen were fifth in the A final of the lightweight women’s double sculls.

The women’s pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished sixth in their A final while Lydia Heaphy was also sixth in the A final of the lightweight women’s single sculls.

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Niall Kelly

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