Thursday 13 December 2018

O'Donovans set for Euros

Rowing

Paul O'Donovan. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul O'Donovan. Photo: Sportsfile

Robert Treharne Jones

Gary and Paul O'Donovan will headline a team of just six athletes representing Ireland at the European Championships, which open today for four days of competition in Glasgow.

The Olympic silver medallists from Skibbereen picked up gold at the final World Cup regatta of the season in Lucerne two weeks ago and are hot favourites for the European title this weekend.

Attempting to make the transition into the heavyweight men's pairs are the reigning world lightweight champions, Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll.

The disappearance of sweep-oared lightweight rowing from the Olympic programme has prompted  a number of international athletes to make the switch, but it's a big ask when the established competition is at least 20kg a man heavier.

Ninth place in Lucerne was an encouraging result last month, and O'Donovan and O'Driscoll are looking for a better result this week with the long-term goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Ireland's third crew in Glasgow includes 2016 European silver medallist Denise Walsh alongside Aoife Casey in the lightweight women's double scull.

Walsh and Casey won the women's senior double sculls at the Irish Championships last month, but the combination is still being assessed.

Casey, 19, is the daughter of Irish coaching legend Dominic.

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