Mixed day for Irish in Bled


ROWING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:IT WAS a day of mixed results for Ireland at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, yesterday. The hopes of the lightweight women’s double of qualifying a boat for the Olympics at this stage fell away, but the men’s lightweight quadruple had an encouraging win.

Siobhán McCrohan and Claire Lambe needed to finish in the top two in their repechage of the lightweight double to qualify for the A/B semi-finals, the top 12 at the event. At the halfway point, 1,000 metres, the Irish were disputing second with Belgium behind clear leaders Australia.

However, Belgium consolidated their hold in the second half of the race and Ireland finished third.

“The damage was done in the third 500 (metres), said Martin McElroy, Ireland’s high performance director. On the general form of the crew, he added: “They have demonstrated reasonable speed in training but it hasn’t translated through into the racing.”

The Ireland crew will now hope to qualify for the C final, but if they succeed their best possible placing is 13th, and they cannot finish in the top eight which would secure a place for the boat in London 2012.

McElroy left open the possibility of sending a crew in this discipline to next year’s Olympic Qualification regatta, where two places at London 2012 will be on offer.

The Ireland men’s lightweight quadruple laid down a marker for Sunday’s final when they won their repechage.

The crew of Niall Kenny, Michael Maher, Justin Ryan and Mark O’Donovan had taken over the lead from the United States by 500 metres and never ceded it.

With a big focus on Olympic-class events there was a small entry for this event, and four crews qualified from the five in yesterday’s repechage.

However, this race gave the young Irish crew, which took silver at last year’s World Under-23 Championships, a chance to show their best form and they have every chance of medalling come Sunday’s final. Germany and Italy, who won their heats on Monday, will be favourites.

Ireland’s day ended on a good note when 21-year-old Sarah Dolan won her C/D semi-final of the lightweight single scull. She will compete in the C final (places 13 to 17) tomorrow, when the big race for Ireland will be the attempt by the women’s double of Lisa Dilleen and Sanita Puspure to qualify from their semi-final for the A final.