Irish rowers draw a blank in big races at the European Championships

Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch came through to take fourth in the men’s double sculls

It’s been a while since Irish rowing had a weekend distanced from the medals, but that was the case in Sunday’s final session at the European Championships in Slovenia.

Confident, it seemed, of making a podium place, Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch came through for fourth in the men’s double sculls, the Netherlands holding on for bronze, with Croatia first home ahead of Italy.

Staged on the magnificent setting of Lake Bled, Siobhán McCrohan was also outside the medals in the lightweight women’s single sculls, the Galway rower also coming through in the last 500m to nail fourth. Ionela Cozmiuc took gold for Romania.

Earlier, Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde had to be content with sixth in the women’s double sculls, a disappoint outcome for the World Championship bronze medal winners from last year.


In the para mixed double sculls final, Steven McGowan and Katie O’Brien finished fifth, while earlier in the B final of the women’s pair, Imogen Magner and Natalie Long took first, the Czech Republic in second.

The men’s four team of John Kearney, Ross Corrigan, Nathan Timoney and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan finished fourth in their B final, with Brian Colsh finishing second in the C final of the single sculls.

On Saturday, the new pairing of Fintan McCarthy and Hugh Moore were looking to continue the remarkable run of success in the lightweight men’s double, but had to settle for sixth, victory there going to the Swiss crew of Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ireland.

The Swiss boat finished in 6:13.81, ahead of Italy and Greece, McCarthy and Moore sixth of the six-boat final, finishing in 6:22.31. Moore, from the Queen’s Boat Club in Belfast, was sitting in for Paul O’Donovan, who on Friday graduated in medicine at UCC.

McCarthy, the reigning Olympic, World and European Championship, was chasing a third successive European title, the Skibbereen man last winning with O’Donovan in Munich last August.

The women’s lightweight double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey, who won a brilliant World Championship bronze medal last year, took fifth in their final. Never in medal contention, victory there went to Great Britain in 6:53:32, the Irish pair finishing in 6:59.64.

The Irish women’s four team had to settle for fifth, finishing 15 seconds down on Romania, who upset reigning championships Great Britain on the line, clocking a new European Championship best time in the process.

Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe and Fiona Murtagh of the Olympic bronze crew from Tokyo were joined here by Tara Hanlon. They found themselves sixth at the halfway point, before making up one place in the second half of the race. The Romanians clocked 6:22.69, Ireland finished fifth in 6:38.75, a disappointing result given they finished second behind Great Britain at last year’s European Championships, beating Romania on that occasion too.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics