Saturday 10 December 2016

Delight for Ireland in Rio as rowers cruise into semi-finals

Sean McGoldrick in Rio

Published 08/08/2016 | 17:45

Gary O'Donovan, left, and Paul O'Donovan of Ireland in action during the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls heats in Lagoa Stadium
Gary O'Donovan, left, and Paul O'Donovan of Ireland in action during the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls heats in Lagoa Stadium

The two Irish lightweight crews in action in the Olympic regatta in Rio today have cruised into the semi-finals of their respective events.

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First up were the women's lightweight double sculls pair of Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe. They were drawn in heat three alongside South Africa, Brazil, Cuba and Tunisia.

From from the start of the 2km race South Africa, as expected, took the initiative while the Irish girls were contesting second spot with the host nation. By the 500m marker the pattern of the race had been established.

South Africa had a three and a half second advantage over Lynch and Lambe who crucially were two second clear of Brazil – as only the first and second finishers qualified directly for Wednesday's semi-finals.

The pattern of the race didn't alter during the remaining 1500m apart from the fact that South Africa increased their lead over Ireland who in turn got comfortably clear of Brazil and Cuba.

South Africa took the heat with Ireland a very comfortable second which guaranteed them a place in the semi-finals.

Claire Lamb, left, and Sinead Lynch of Ireland in action during the Women's Lightweight Double Sculls heats
Claire Lamb, left, and Sinead Lynch of Ireland in action during the Women's Lightweight Double Sculls heats

Less than ten minutes later the O'Donovan brothers, Gary and Paul were in action in the men's double sculls. They started slowly in an European heat and were fourth after 500m. But they gradually increased their speed and by the 1500m mark their speed was 18kph – the fastest in the race.

Even though their semi-final place was secure by then they chased down the Italians in the final straight and won the heat to boost their prospects ahead of the semi-final.

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