Thursday 18 January 2018

You have not seen the last of these great Irish rowers

Annalise Murphy celebrates with her silver medal Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Annalise Murphy celebrates with her silver medal Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

John Daly

When the epitaph for Olympics 2016 is written, it is hopefully the smiles we will remember, rather than the tears. A pair of sibling rowers from west Cork with a gift for masterful understatement and a plucky sailor from Dun Laoghaire who successfully nursed a four-year dream to represent Irish sport. Away from the boxing ring, where smoke-and-mirror judgments can usurp even clear victories, the aquatic battleground offers Irish sport a canvas to paint the podium golds of tomorrow. It's only right we should play to our strengths as an island nation and write future Olympic victories to a rousing chorus of, "thank God, we're surrounded by water".

Regardless of where they go from here, 'GQ Magazine' has already lauded Paul and Gary O'Donovan as stars of the 2016 Games. Underneath the headline, 'Irish Rowers give an interview, Win the whole dang Olympics', feature writer Jack Moore praised the likely lads for a media technique "that had no clichés about the triumph of the spirit or how they owe it all to God", but instead enlightened and amused the world "about peeing, pizza, and how they put on podium pants".

The fact their famous "pull like a dog" interview got more than half-a-million YouTube hits underlines just how huge this pair of unassuming brothers have become around the world. Mind you, when another media commentator suggested the pair will now find themselves the centre of attention for hordes of romantically inclined females, the boys' mother Trish was quick to declare: "They'll have to come through me first." God bless the legendary Irish Mammy - even Olympic medals don't change her superior status in every household.

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