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Irish lightweight four glad of a work-out in cruise to semis

IT WAS a race they should never have found themselves in but Ireland's Lightweight rowing four of Cathal Moynihan, Gearoid Towey, Richard Archibald and Paul Griffin cruised through their repechage to book a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.

Ireland never had a problem in the race which essentially only discarded one boat, winning in 6:21.79, four seconds clear of Holland, with America third and Egypt, as expected, eliminated by a huge 10 second margin.

And Archibald pointed out that it was useful to get another race under their belt. "We got a better start today, and we're learning," he said. "That's only the fourth time we've rowed that combination, so we've already doubled our experience since we arrived."

He noted that the blistering pace set in their heat last Sunday, when they failed to get a top three place, was "one of the fastest we've ever done so everybody else has stepped up and we have to find improvement somewhere."

He joked that having to go through the repechage could also have another advantage.

"It's good for helping us control our weight. Some of those other guys have had three or four days off now, and will have been at McDonald's!"

Their Irish heavyweight counterparts are in the first of today's semi-finals with Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and the USA.