Saturday 15 December 2018

O'Donovan brothers storm into European semi-final


Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll in action at the European
Championships. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll in action at the European Championships. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Robert Treharne Jones

it was business as usual for Gary and Paul O'Donovan on the opening day of the European Championships in Glasgow, where they swept to victory in their heat of the lightweight double sculls.

The brothers, who came in to this event off the back of a gold medal at the World Cup regatta in Switzerland two weeks ago, have now earned a break today before tomorrow's semi-final.

Olympic champion Pierre Houin and his new partner, Thomas Baroukh, of France led the O'Donovans to 500 metres before the Skibbereen men upped the ante and pulled ahead by the 1,000m mark. Ireland crossed the line 1.84 seconds clear of France and both crews qualified direct for the semi.

"We had a good start, but then France pushed through at the 500, but we did another push by halfway and just took control of proceedings." said Paul O'Donovan afterwards.

"It was one of the slower heats so the semi-finals will test us a bit more," he added.

In the heats of the men's pairs lightweight world champions Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll made their mark at the second attempt yesterday.

Fourth place in their heat forced them into the repechages, and just four hours later the two men were back in action, storming through the field in a late charge that saw them place second behind Serbia.

Both crew progress to the semi-finals with third-placed Ukraine, while the Austrian Querfeld brothers were eliminated.

Ireland's newest crew in Glasgow is the lightweight women's double scull, which includes 2016 European silver medallist Denise Walsh alongside 19-year-old Aoife Casey.

Despite winning the women's senior double sculls at the Irish Championships last month, this is their first international event together and fourth place yesterday means a second chance in today's repechages.

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