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Olympic Breakfast: Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy secure gold for Ireland

The Irish pair saw off a strong German challenge to clinch first place on what was another busy day for Team Ireland.

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THEY ARRIVED AS red hot favourites. They leave as gold medallists. Day six is all about a famous triumph for Team Ireland. Welcome to the latest of our overnight updates from the Olympic Games. 

The Irish Eye

With the hopes of a nation on their shoulders, Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy took off at the Sea Forest Waterway and powered to victory. Germany pushed them all the way but a final surge was enough for the Skibbereen pair to take gold and a place in history.

It is Ireland’s second medal of these Games after the women’s four collected bronze on Wednesday. 

Also in rowing, Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen finished second in the lightweight double sculls B final.

Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska placed 11th overall after a fifth-place finish in their women’s pair B final.

In a cruel demonstration of how the pandemic delay has affected some athletes more than others, there was a big disappointment for Sanita Puspure as she had to settle for fifth in the women’s single sculls semi-final. She will progress to the B final next. 

rory-mcilroy-reacts-after-a-missed-putt-on-the-14th Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Team Ireland’s men’s judo competitor Ben Fletcher was beaten by Mukhammadkarim Khurramov of Uzbekistan in his round of 32 fight. Just competing is a remarkable feat given he broke his leg in a competition last February. 

“In different times, I would have been one of the guys who should medal here. Given the circumstances, there is not so much I could hope for,” said a disappointed Fletcher in his post-fight interview with RTE. 

“It was a case of get yourself as fit as possible and go really. It is hard to think about that performance at the moment. It could have been a lot worse, but I felt good.

“We got me into good shape. It is just tough. I am hugely proud to represent Ireland. I have loved every moment of it. Team Ireland have been so good to me. I couldn’t have had better support.”

Derek Burnett ended up with a 26th place finish after posting a score of 118. The Longford shooter only missed one target in each of his final four rounds, but won’t progress to the top-6 final.

Both Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry were in action at the Kasumigaseki Country Club this morning. Play was suspended due to lightning in the area. Leading the way is Austria’s Sepp Straka on -8. At the time, McIlroy stood on -1 through 13 while Lowry was even after 12. 

In sailing, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove took second place in Race 5 of the 49er. Annalise Murphy started brightly in the Laser Radials with races 7 and 8 scheduled for today. 

Who else is making headlines

A dramatic finish saw China win the women’s 4x200m freestyle gold and shock Australia. Having qualified fastest on Wednesday, the reigning world champions Australia sent out an entirely different team for the final.

This decision backfired and in the end, they had to settle for third as the USA took second.

US athlete Caeleb Dressel blazed to victory in the men’s 100m freestyle final on Thursday, adding the Olympic gold to his back-to-back world titles.

Away from the pool, American world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks has tested positive for Covid-19 and withdrawn from the Olympics. 

 Reader feedback

“Some sight to wake up to, congratulations lads phenomenal achievement. What a few days for Irish rowing with the bronze for the women as well. Unbelievable consistency having won the Europeans and World’s as well.”

Eoghan Ó Coill pays tribute to Irish rowing’s phenomenal record. 

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Your Olympic schedule for the rest of the day

Shane Ryan will compete in the 100m butterfly heat at 11.49am. The 27-year old had to withdraw from the 100m backstroke last week due to persistent shoulder pain.

The women’s all-around final in artistic gymnastics is one of 17 finals that will occur on Thursday. That begins at 11.50am.

Highlight of the night

 The mantle must go to the Skibbereen duo who delivered Ireland’s 33rd medal in history. Paul O’Donovan joins an exclusive club of Irish athletes who have won medals at two Olympics. That includes Pat O’Callaghan and Paddy Barnes. 

fintan-mccarthy-and-paul-odonovan-with-their-gold-medals Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Some further reading

The Irish Examiner’s Brendan O’Brien on the feeling in Tokyo as Ireland claimed gold. 

Quote of the day 

“I’ve been ignoring her for a while. So she will be fairly annoyed when I get home. I’ll get a back of the hand across the face I’d say.”

Paul O’Donovan told RTE he has no doubt his mother will bring him back down to earth upon his return to West Cork. 

About the author:

Maurice Brosnan

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