Sensational O'Donovan and McCarthy crowned European rowing champions again

Clinical Irish duo win European Championship gold in Munich.

O'Donovan and McCarthy clinch back-to-back European titles.
O'Donovan and McCarthy clinch back-to-back European titles.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND’S PAUL O’DONOVAN and Fintan McCarthy cemented their place as Europe’s best as they added another gold medal to their glittering CVs in Munich on Sunday morning.

The reigning European, world and Olympic champions retained their European Championship title in the lightweight men’s double sculls in a time of 6:34.72.

In another textbook performance, the Cork duo upped the pace over the second 1000m to pull clear of their rivals and secure a bloodless victory.

Italy’s Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo followed home in second place in 6:38.40, holding off Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ahumada Ireland of Switzerland who won bronze in 6:39.37.

Sunday’s gold medal is McCarthy’s second at European Championship level, and a third for O’Donovan who also won the title with brother Gary in 2016.

The clinical, assured nature of Sunday’s performance will also serve as further warning to their rivals ahead of the upcoming World Championships, which take place in Racice in the Czech Republic next month.

“It was a tough auld race,” McCarthy told RTÉ Sport’s David Gillick afterwards. “We had  kind of a headwind out there so it was a bit longer than we’re used to, but it was good — nice to get back in the double.”

The pair have not had many opportunities to row together this year while O’Donovan focused on his medical studies, and he was quick to pay tribute to his team-mate for keeping them ahead of the chasing pack.

“That’s all Fintan, really,” O’Donovan said.

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“Fintan’s really stepped on his game and he’s the one really dragging me along. I had an easy ride out there, which is good.

“He put in a good job. He’s been rowing really well, really smooth, good timing, lots of power, endurance — he has it all.

“I wasn’t doing much!”

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