Irish duo edged out in bid to reach semis
Lightweight scullers Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey missed a semi-final place by the narrowest of margins at the World Championships yesterday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Walsh and Casey, who only came together in time for the European Championships six weeks ago in Glasgow, became the first of Ireland's casualties at the championships. The best position they can now hope for is 13th overall in the competition.
In yesterday's repechage the scullers lined up alongside Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol, the Swiss duo who had bettered Ireland's time by seven seconds in Sunday's heats.
But it was Spain's Rocio Lao Sanchez and Natalia Miguel Gomez who made the early running, despite Walsh and Casey rocketing off the start at 50 strokes a minute - the highest rate of the field.
But Switzerland were ahead of the pack after 500m and never dropped the lead, while Japan's Yamaryo Natsumi and Oishi Ayami came through to take second place at the halfway mark.
Despite a finishing burst from Walsh and Casey inside the final stages, Switzerland and Japan hung on to the two qualifying slots while Ireland were a further 3.21 seconds back in third.
"They're a little bit disappointed, but they tried hard," said coach Dominic Casey afterwards.
The lightweight double sculls is an intensely competitive event, and margins can often be counted in hundredths of a second.
"They lost a bit off the start but attacked well down the course. It was a reasonable time, but they finished the wrong side of the line," added Casey.
Today's racing programme sees Ireland's best medal hopes, Gary and Paul O'Donovan, race their quarter-final of the lightweight doubles. Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska get their second chance to qualify in the openweight women's doubles, while Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle race their quarter-final of the men's event.