Sport Team Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

'They have captured the nation’s imagination' - President Higgins leads the tributes to Olympic heroes

12 August 2016; Paul O'Donovan, left, and Gary O'Donovan of Ireland celebrate after finishing second in the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls A final in Lagoa Stadium, Copacabana, during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 August 2016; Paul O'Donovan, left, and Gary O'Donovan of Ireland celebrate after finishing second in the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls A final in Lagoa Stadium, Copacabana, during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
President Michael D Higgins Picture: Tony Gavin

Tomás Heneghan

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins has hailed the O’Donovan brothers as “outstanding ambassadors for their sport” today after their historic win at the Olympics.

President Higgins said: “On behalf of the people of Ireland, I want to congratulate Paul and Gary O’Donovan on winning a silver medal today - Ireland’s first ever Olympic rowing medal.

“They have captured the nation’s imagination and their skill, determination and positive outlook make them outstanding ambassadors for their sport, and for their community, long into the future.

“Their success today will encourage young men and women all around the island to participate in sport and realise that success at the highest level is possible in virtually every sport.”

Ministers at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport also congratulated the O’Donovan brothers on their Olympic silver medal win.

The messages came as Cork brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan made history securing Ireland’s first ever medal for Olympic rowing.

President Michael D Higgins Picture: Tony Gavin
President Michael D Higgins Picture: Tony Gavin

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said the brothers rowed “a magnificent race” and that he was “delighted” they won a silver medal.

He said: “The brothers have been outstanding all week, it is a wonderful achievement for the young pair to be bringing home an Olympic medal from the Rio Games.

“After a tough start, this is real shot in the arm for Team Ireland and while this is the first rowing medal and our first medal of these games, hopefully there is more to come.”

Meanwhile Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan said he was also “delighted” for the pair.

The Junior Minister explained: “They rowed an outstanding race against the best in the world, and we – along with supporters across Ireland are very proud of their performance in their first Olympic Games.

“Their family and friends, and Skibbereen Rowing Club must be immensely proud to see them winning Ireland’s first Olympic rowing medal and the first for Ireland at these games.”

“This really is a magnificent achievement and I am sure there is more to come. It is a great day for the Ireland’s rowing Community, for West Cork and for Ireland,” he added.

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