Ireland’s Olympic rowers close in on their holy grail

Sanita Puspure, Sinead Lynch, Claire Lambe and the O’Donovan brothers know the meaning of the word sacrifice

Rowing Ireland have three boats competing in Rio. It's a tough endurance sport requiring strength and skill. We spend a day on the water with the three women and two men that make up the squad at their County Cork training base. Video: Bryan O'Brien

Rowers are different. We always know they are out there, season after season, moving through early morning water and through the very edges of our thoughts, seldom seen or spoken about until every fourth summer comes around.

Here are Ireland’s five rowers for the 31st Olympiad. Because of Bryan O’Brien's skill as a filmographer, what they do down there in Farran Wood looks enviable and dreamy and a perfect way to start your mornings. On the water: gliding and carefree. And on one level, it is that. But make no mistake: on another level what happens in the National Rowing Centre is a daily routine of unstinting athletic commitment with the usual accompaniments of pain, exhaustion, self-denial, self-doubt and occasional moments of elation.

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