Ireland’s find going tough at World Under-21 Championships

Liam Keane and Stephen O’Connor qualify for quarter-final of lightweight double sculls

Ireland crews found the going tough in their heats at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships in the high temperatures of Plovdiv in Bulgaria. All four crews in action for the first time must find their way through repechages if they are to progress further.

A bright spot for Ireland was the performance of Liam Keane and Stephen O'Connor, who qualified for their quarter-final of the lightweight double sculls, winning a battle with the United States to take the second qualification place in their repechage.

The men's open double of Sam McKeown and Andrew Griffin started well in their heat and were contenders early on for one of the top-two places which would have sent them directly through to the A/B semi-finals.

Greater speed

However, Hungary and the Netherlands showed greater speed in the middle of the race, and McKeown and Griffin finished fifth.


Erik Rowan, the Tasmanian who has settled with his family in Cork, had to win his heat of the single sculls if he was to progress directly. He was also in touch through the early part of the race, but Jack Beaumont of Britain made the race his own and won. Rowan was fourth.

The pattern was similar for Skibbereen man Fintan McCarthy in the lightweight single sculls: only a win would guarantee qualification and, while he was up with the leaders early on, he was pushed into fifth by the end.

Outstanding winners

The lightweight four of

Shane Mulvaney


Lloyd Seaman


Chris Beck

and stroke David O’Malley were never completely out of touch in their heat. Italy were outstanding winners, while Britain fought off the United States, Spain and Ireland to take the second direct qualification place.

The repechage of the lightweight double sculls gave a glimpse of Irish fighting spirit. Keane and O'Connor set themselves up in second, behind a fast Swiss crew, and held on to the crucial spot under pressure from Austin Velte and James Sincavage of the US.

World Under-23 Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Day Two (Irish interest)

Men, Lightweight Four - Heat One (Two Directly to A/B Semi-Final, rest to Repechages): 1 Italy 6:24.75, 2 Britain 6:30.70; 5 Ireland (S Mulvaney, L Seaman, C Beck, D O’Malley) 6:40.22.

Double Sculls - Heat (First Two Directly to A/B Semi-Finals; rest to Repechages): 1 Netherlands 6:24.01, 2 Hungary 6:28.15; 5 Ireland (A Griffin, S McKeown) 6:57.44.

Lightweight Double Sculls - Repêchage (First Two to Quarter Finals; rest to E Final): 1 Switzerland 6:55.72, 2 Ireland (L Keane, S O’Connor) 6:59.52

Single Sculls - Heat (Winner to A/B Semi-Finals): 1 Britain 7:10.25; 4 Ireland (E Rowan) 7:28.75

Lightweight Single Sculls - Heat Four (Winner Directly to A/B Semi-Final; rest to Repechage): 1 Italy 7:32.99; 5 Ireland (F McCarthy) 8:01.20.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in rowing