The Ireland women’s four and Olympic champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy both won their heats and qualified for the A Finals on the first day of the European Championships in Munich.
The heats of the lightweight double were cut to two when France pulled out on the day. This left 12 crews and now heat winners would get the real advantage, in headwind conditions, of direct qualification for the final. For O’Donovan and McCarthy it meant no big change in strategy – they have won every race they have competed in as a crew for the last two years. The Swiss, with a stroke man called Raphael Ireland, gave the Irish the best race. Ireland passed them after 1400 metres and won.
The women’s four started well, led at 500 metres and were never headed. This result was significant in that one of the favourites, the Netherlands, could only finish third. They must compete in a repechage on Friday, while Ireland go directly to Saturday’s A Final, in a time faster than Britain set in winning the other heat. The win was a cool birthday present for Eimear Lambe, who turned 25.
Zoe Hyde and Sanita Puspure in the Ireland double eased into their semi-final by placing second in their heat. However, the new women’s eight finished second in their heat behind the Netherlands, and three other Ireland crews also go to repechages. The women’s pair (third), the lightweight women’s double (second) and lightweight single sculler Aoife Casey (fourth) missed the first cut.
European Championships, Munich, Day One (Irish interest)
Pararowing – PR2 Mixed Double: (Preliminary Race) – 4 Ireland (S McGowan, K O’Brien) 9:35.39
Eight – Heat Two: 2 Ireland 6:52.72.
Four – Heat One: 1 Ireland 7:10.24.
Pair – Heat Two: 3 Ireland (E Hegarty, F Murtagh) 7:51.90
Double Sculls – Heat Two: 2 Ireland (S Puspure, Z Hyde) 7:47.02
Lightweight Double Sculls – Heat Two: 2 Ireland 7:53.78
Lightweight Single Sculls – Heat One: 4 Ireland (A Casey) 8:47.61
Lightweight Double – Heat One: 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O’Donovan) 7:02.52.