Gary O’Donovan digs deep to claim Irish trials win

Olympic hero makes hay with brother Paul absent due to exams

Gary O’Donovan won the men’s single sculls at the Irish trials in Cork. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Gary O’Donovan won the men’s single sculls at the Irish trials in Cork. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Gary O’Donovan laid down a marker at the Irish trials when, in the absence of his exam-tied brother Paul, he beat all others in the single sculls at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

In a final rowed in very tough conditions, with a cross headwind, heavyweight oarsman Sam McKeown led with 500 metres to go. Gary, a lightweight but one with an Olympic silver medal, knew he was up against it and drew on his reserves to win.

Another Skibbereen competitor, Denise Walsh, gritted out to win her battle-within-a-battle in the women’s single. Sanita Puspure won well from Monika Dukarska, but Ireland lightweight international Walsh had to see off a courageous row from 17-year-old Hannah Scott in the fight to take third. Scott has been signed up by Princeton.

The anticipated battle of the lightweight pairs did not happen. Shane Mulvaney felt ill early on in the heats and his promising under-23 partnership with David 0’Malley could play no further part. Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan were untroubled winners of the final.

The UCC women’s pair of Aifric Keogh and Aoife Feeley beat the UCD under-23 pair (Eimear Lambe and Ruth Gillian) in their final.

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