Promising display from O'Donoghue and Curry
Ireland's rowers opened their account with a strong performance yesterday at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Tokyo, where Rhiannon O'Donoghue and Molly Curry raced their opening heat of the women's double sculls.
But it was the Dutch crew of Lisa Bruijnincx and Jacobien van Westreenen, bronze medallists last year in the quad sculls, who got out in front and shut the door on any challenge later in the contest.The rest of the field were caught napping and despite a spirited finish from O'Donoghue and Curry, they finished second, 8.3 secs down on the leaders, and now have another chance in today's repechage.
"They were happy, I was happy - it was a good opening race, considering it was their first competition together," said their coach, John Armstrong.
"We've got to take it one step at a time, see if we can get a few inroads in the first half, and make sure they get through to the semi-finals."
Today they will line up alongside Hungary, South Africa and Hong Kong, with the first two qualifying for the semi-finals. Based on yesterday's heat times, that should be straightforward, O'Donoghue and Curry having recorded the fastest time of the four by some eight seconds.
Facing their first round today will be Ireland's men's coxed four, which includes James O'Donovan of Castleconnell, Matthew Gallagher of St Josephs, Shandon's Jack Dorney and John Kearney of Cork, coxed by another Shandon athlete, Leah O'Regan.
With a silver medal under their belts from the European Junior Championships in Germany earlier in the season their prospects are good, and the main challenge in their heat is likely to come from the USA, who have two of last year's world silver medallists on board this time around.