Paul O’Donovan leads charge on a very good day for Ireland at World Cup regatta at Dorney Lake

Claire Lambe leads from pillar to post to win her repechage of lightweight single sculls

 Paul O’Donovan of Ireland competing in the lightweight single sculls heats  at  Dorney Lake. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Paul O’Donovan of Ireland competing in the lightweight single sculls heats at Dorney Lake. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 01:00

UCD scholarship student Paul O’Donovan led the charge on a very good day for Ireland at the World Cup regatta at Dorney Lake yesterday. The 19-year old, making his debut at this level, saw off classy competition to win his heat and give himself a shot at a place in the final, while Ireland’s two women’s crews nailed places in their A Finals by winning their repechages.

Duncan Grant, the winner of the first World Cup regatta in Sydney, was the red-hot favourite to win his heat of the lightweight single sculls. But O’Donovan had other ideas. He had a great start and held off challenges by the 33-year-old New Zealander to win. Grant took the second qualifying place for today’s semi-finals.

“Paul did a fantastic job,” said Ireland performance director Morten Espersen. “He did what you should do – try to get ahead and then keep the boat running.” Espersen feels he now has a real shot of making it through today’s semi-finals.

The Ireland women’s double scull of Leonora Kennedy and Monika Dukarska have been together only six weeks, but their third race will be an A Final in an Olympic-class event.

They placed third behind Britain and China Two in their heat and but then found real form in their repechage, where they led well in the middle stages and held off a late charge by an experienced Finland crew.

Claire Lambe led from pillar to post to win her repechage of the lightweight single sculls. The Dubliner had missed out on direct qualification from her heat by finishing third in her heat behind 2011 world champion Fabiana Beltrame and British newcomer Ruth Walczak.

Ireland’s two pararowing crews were well down the rankings, but they were competing at their first event.

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