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O'Driscoll and Co rally to book semi-final spot

Ireland have made a promising start at the U-23 World Championships in Amsterdam.

During a brief opening programme on the Bosbaan Lake in the heart of the city, the Irish lightweight quadruple men's scull qualified comfortably for tomorrow's semi-final.

Shane O'Driscoll, Niall Kenny, Peter Hanily and Justin Ryan notched up valuable race experience against senior opposition at the World Cup regatta in Lucerne two weeks ago, when they finished just off the podium in fourth place.

With the first three across the line qualifying directly for the semi-final in Amsterdam, the Cork/Galway student composite got off to a shaky start, with Serbia making the early running and Ireland in fifth place after the first 500m.

But then Italy came through to lead the pack home, with Ireland hanging on to a confident second place ahead of France.

The Ireland selectors have sent eight athletes to the Dutch capital, where they will contest four boat classes over the championships, which culminate in Sunday's finals.

UCD's Claire Lambe and her DUBC partner Sarah Dolan, in the lightweight women's double, will be looking to improve on the eighth place they reached at last year's U-23 regatta in Belarus.

In the single sculls, Jonathan Mitchell, of Queen's Belfast, is making his international debut in the lightweight men's event, while Cork Institute's Lisa Dilleen will contest the women's open-weight event.

A junior international in the double scull only two years ago, Dilleen reached the Lucerne final partnered by Sanita Puspure and is another athlete destined to improve on last year's ninth place overall.

Irish Independent