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O'Donovan brothers power to heat victory, Jennings and Lambe also secure semi spot

Ireland’s lightweight double sculls rowers were in impressive form in Rio.

PAUL AND GARY O’Donovan produced an impressively strong finish to claim victory in the opening heat of the men’s lightweight double sculls in Rio today.

The Cork brothers left the dock slower than their competitors and were second last at the 500 metre check-point, but as the race wore on, their strength came to the fore and they slowly ate into the leading Italian pair stroke by stroke.

Gary O’Donovan and Paul O’Donovan Source: James Crombie/INPHO

With 500 to go, the momentum was all theirs and they edged the victory in a time of 6:23.72, 0.38 seconds ahead of Andrea Micheletti and Marcello Miani.

In the women’s heats of the same event, Sinead Jennings and Claire Lambe also claimed a semi-final berth in style as they comfortably finished second.

Sinead Jennings and Claire Lambe Source: James Crombie/INPHO

After yesterday’s weather forced a delay, the Donegal-Dublin duo took advantage of much calmer conditions to power away in the outside lane, in pursuit of South Africa’s Ursula Groble and Kirsten McCann.

The South Africans were in control of first place throughout, but were not afforded much chance to ease off as Jennings and Lambe finished the course in 7:10.91. Just over 3.5 seconds off Groble and McCann and 10 seconds ahead of third-placed Brazil.

Source: The42: Rio 2016 Olympics/SoundCloud

Eighth overall after the heats, Jennings and Lambe will compete again in Wednesday’s semi-finals. The O’Donovan brothers will be in action immediately after them again, and they will be watched closely by their opponents after recording the second-fastest time today.

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Sean Farrell

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