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McCarthy and O'Donovan make history with gold medal in Tokyo

The pair produced a brilliant performance to finish first in a time of 6:06.43.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

PAUL O’DONOVAN AND Fintan McCarthy have secured Ireland’s first-ever rowing Olympic gold medal after they won the men’s lightweight double sculls final in Tokyo. 

The Skibbereen pair produced a brilliant performance to finish first in a time of 6:06.43. The Germans fought all the way after bursting out of the blocks but when it mattered, the Irish boat hit the front and roared home down the last 500m.

Germany eventually took second with 6:07.29. The Italian claimed third clocking 6:14.30.

It was a tactical and technical masterclass. In windy conditions at the Sea Forest Waterway, McCarthy and O’Donovan summoned another gear to pull ahead as the line loomed. 

It is Ireland’s second medal at the games after the women’s four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty took bronze at the Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. 

The gold medal completes a sensational 12 months for the duo that includes success at the European Championship and the World Cup regatta in Lucerne. 

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For O’Donovan, it is his second Olympic medal having won silver in Rio. 
President Michael D Higgins sent his congratulations this morning:

“After the magnificent success in women’s rowing yesterday, today we celebrate Ireland’s first Olympic gold medal in rowing, won so deservedly by Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy in the lightweight double sculls,” he said in a statement.

“Theirs is a tremendous achievement, which gives great inspiration to young people and aspiring athletes all over Ireland.”

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Maurice Brosnan

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