Tuesday 6 December 2016

Town promises a great party to honour its heroic brothers

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's Gary O'Donovan (right) and Paul O'Donovan (left). Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Ireland's Gary O'Donovan (right) and Paul O'Donovan (left). Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

A West Cork town is preparing for the party of the century to welcome home two Olympic rowing heroes from the Rio Games.

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A massive clean-up and redecoration programme has been launched in Skibbereen to prepare for the homecoming of Olympic silver-medal-winning brothers, Gary (23) and Paul (22) O'Donovan.

Volunteers hard at work repainting Skibbereen Rowing Club in anticipation of the homecoming
party for Rio silver medal winners Gary and Paul O’Donovan
Volunteers hard at work repainting Skibbereen Rowing Club in anticipation of the homecoming party for Rio silver medal winners Gary and Paul O’Donovan

Their father, Teddy, flew back to Cork yesterday from Rio via London to a special reception from family and friends - and vowed that his sons could yet go on to win Olympic gold in the future.

Teddy, who introduced the boys to rowing, said: "I knew from the semi-final that a medal was there for them.

"All going well, there should be another two or maybe three Olympics for them. Yes, I do believe it (they can win future gold."

The boys' mother, Trish, is expected to fly into Cork today.

Volunteers hard at work repainting Skibbereen Rowing Club in anticipation of the homecoming
party for Rio silver medal winners Gary and Paul O’Donovan
Volunteers hard at work repainting Skibbereen Rowing Club in anticipation of the homecoming party for Rio silver medal winners Gary and Paul O’Donovan

Meanwhile, dozens of volunteers are now repainting and redecorating the Skibbereen Rowing Club premises which will be the centre of the homecoming party. Dozens more are working on sprucing up the town centre.

Gary and Paul had to postpone their official homecoming from Rio until after the World Rowing Championships in the Netherlands.

The championships take place in Rotterdam from August 21 next and their homecoming is now expected on August 28 or 29.

Gary, who is studying marketing in CIT, and Paul, who is studying physiotherapy at UCD, have been flooded by invitations to attend functions across Ireland.

Their quirky TV and radio interviews, added to their sense of humour, have also turned them into media stars.

Skibbereen has now promised a homecoming of historic proportions for the two brothers from Lisheen.

President Michael D Higgins paid his personal tribute to Ireland's first medal winners of the 2016 Games.

They will now be accorded a special reception at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Skibbereen RC boasts 163 All-Ireland rowing titles and locals have highlighted the role of long-time coach Dominic Casey and club president Nuala Lupton.

Irish Independent

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