Women's four storm home to seal semi spot
Ireland took another step forward at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria, with the women's four qualifying for the semi-finals.
Fresh from their silver medal at the World U-23 Championships in Florida, the crew were a late selection for the regatta, which is also the main qualification event for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Senior athlete Aifric Keogh had been brought into the boat alongside Tara Hanlon, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty, and they were the fastest crew in Sunday's heats.
Russia, China and Italy made the early running yesterday but the Russians soon began to fade, allowing Ireland to come through into third.
Russia, unchanged from the crew which took the U-23 title last year, then came back once again before Ireland raised the rate to a gut-busting 39 to cruise past Italy and to claim second place behind China. There was further success in the lightweight single sculls where Skibbereen's Lydia Heaphy qualified for the semi-finals with third place in her repechage.
But there was disappointment for Ireland's lightweight men's quad scull.
A top-four finish would have been sufficient for Hugh Sutton, Miles Taylor, Ryan Ballantine and Jacob McCarthy, but the pace left Ireland trailing at halfway and they could not make up the deficit.