No room for regrets as proud Lynch and Lambe row into history

Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe are the first female Irish crew to contest Olympic final

Ireland’s Claire Lambe and Sinead Lynch after Friday’s race. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland’s Claire Lambe and Sinead Lynch after Friday’s race. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

They have been the bright lights of these Irish Olympics and, on a memorable day on the water, our rowing crews reminded us of the slender, irretrievable margins.

Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe rowed their hardest against the five fastest crews of the world and finished sixth in a time, eight seconds behind the gold-medal Dutch crew’s time of 7.04.73. They had nothing to berate themselves for – they were simply racing against faster and more experienced crews.

What a day though: Irish Olympic finals in any sport can be years or decades apart. In Lagoa, there was two in 15 minutes.

Lynch and Lambe had hardly made it out of their boat when the O’Donovan boys had finished silver and the Irish women were torn between their delight for their teammates and their own conflicted feelings. They will always be the first Irish woman’s crew to contest an Olympic final. And it’s not a bad way to mark your final race as a team.

“We did our best,” said Lynch. “We have no regrets...we had a good row. Maybe not the best start but if we hadn’t been beside the top five crews in the world we would have thought that was a brilliant start. We got into a really good rhythm and we tried really hard and we even sprinted at the end which we don’t normally get but we did that really well.”

They were up against it after the opening 200m, struggling to keep pace with the ferocious start of the Dutch and Canadian crews and putting in a lung-bursting effort through the third 500m in an attempt to force themselves back into contention.

“At the moment there is the disappointment at not reaching the final goal but I think in a couple of days we will look back at this with the best memories and be really proud,” said Lambe.

“I just didn’t want to have a bad row and didn’t want to come away with any regrets and I don’t think we did.”

Lynch said: “What’s most disappointing is that it’s the end of our journey together.We have had 18 fabulous months.”

Of the rowing: you suspect the friendship has many Olympics ahead.

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