Rowing: A record seven boats set for Paris 2024 as teams compete in World Cup II this weekend

For the majority of the Olympic crews, Rowing Ireland still has to decide on the final Paris selections

With a record seven Irish crews now set for Paris after the final Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Lucerne earlier this week, Rowing Ireland’s high-performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni has announced a slight shake-up in selections for this weekend’s World Cup II regatta, also set for Lucerne, Switzerland.

The Irish women’s four joined the six crews already qualified from last year’s World Championships in Belgrade, and Tuesday’s winning quartet of Imogen Magner, Eimear Lambe, Natalie Long and Emily Hegarty must also make up that crew for Paris.

For the other six crews the boats were qualified first, and Rowing Ireland still has to decide on the final Paris selections.

Four of those six crews have been selected for Lucerne this weekend with the same line-up: the women’s pair of Fiona Murtagh (University of Galway BC), Aifric Keogh (Grainne Mhaol), and the women’s double of Alison Bergin (Fermoy RC) and Zoe Hyde (Tralee RC).


Also the lightweight women’s double of Margaret Cremen (University College Cork RC) and Aoife Casey (Skibbereen RC), and the lightweight men’s double of Paul O’Donovan (Skibbereen RC) and Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen RC).

In the men’s pair, John Kearney (University College Cork RC) is selected in place of Nathan Timoney (Queen’s University Belfast BC), and will join Ross Corrigan (Portora BC), while in the men’s double, Brian Colsh (University of Galway BC) is selected to row with Andrew Sheehan (University College Cork RC). Philip Doyle (Portora BC) and Daire Lynch (Clonmel RC) qualified the boat last year, but are still very much in line for Paris selection.

In the lightweight women’s single, a non-Olympic event, Siobhán McCrohan (Tribesmen RC) is named, while in the Para 2 men’s singles, Steven McGowan (Galway RC) will join Tiarnán O’Donnell (Lee RC).

“The final Olympic qualification regatta is notoriously challenging, especially since only two crews in most boat classes secure Olympic spots, creating a high-pressure environment for athletes,” said Maurogiovanni.

“With the addition of the women’s four, we have now qualified a record number of seven boats for the Olympics, along with one boat for the Paralympics, making it the largest team we have ever sent to the Olympics.”

“We will review the overall situation and soon finalise the official Olympic team and prepare it for the Games.”

The strongest of 57 National Olympic Committee (NOC) teams for Paris will be Romania and the United States (12 boats), Great Britain and the Netherlands (10 boats), Australia and New Zealand (nine boats), Italy (eight boats), Ireland and Germany (seven boats) and finally Switzerland (six boats).

It wasn’t to be for Sanita Puspure, her quest to qualify for a fourth Olympics in the women’s singles falling dramatically short, as she went from first to fifth in the final 250 metres, with Konan Pazzaia also sixth in the men’s single.

In Paris, O’Donovan will look to become the first Irish athlete in any sport to win a medal in three successive Olympics, after his silver in Rio (with older brother Gary), and gold in Tokyo (with McCarthy).

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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