Four find the going tough


Ireland's lightweight four, which won silver at the Nations Cup, the world under-23 championships this year, found the going tough at the senior world championships at Lucerne yesterday.

Neil Casey, Noel Monahan, Timmy Harnedy and Paul Griffin were sent to these championships to gain experience and yesterday they certainly did. They were, in the words of manager Mick O'Callaghan, a bit outclassed as they finished fifth and last in their repechage despite setting a good time of six minutes and six seconds. They now start in the C final.

However, the news for Ireland's premier gold medal hope Sam Lynch is good. The draw for today's semi-final of the lightweight single sculls sees him avoid both reigning world champions, Michal Vabrousek, of the Czech Republic, and Italy's Stefano Basalini, who was champion in 1998.

Lynch, a double gold medallist at World Cup regattas this year, would be expected to have every chance of beating either, but now he knows he will not meet them until the final, should all qualify.

The medical student from Limerick faces scullers from Slovakia, Argentina, France, the US and Germany today. The A final, for which the first three will qualify, is on Saturday.

Also competing today is heavyweight sculler Padraig Hussey, who also won silver at the World under-23 championships and is in Lucerne for development purposes. The 21-year-old faces an interesting clash in today's C/D semi-finals with Matthew Wells of Britain. Three qualify for the C semi-final.