O’Donovans battle hard to take bronze at Lucerne

Ireland finished weekend with two medals from World Cup Regatta

Ireland took home a gold and a bronze medal from World Cup Regatta at Lucerne, the biggest of the year so far.

The bronze for Paul and Gary O'Donovan told a lot about the character of the men. They faltered in their heat and had to negotiate a repechage and semi-final, where they got through as the third qualifier and were allocated an outside lane. But come the final they nailed a medal.

Olympic champions France were quite dominant and the new Italy crew showed guts to chase them and take second. The O’Donovans sprinted into third and stayed clear of the rest.

“We got lots of races this weekend and loads of racing practice,” said Gary after the final. How do you beat the French at the World Championships in September? “By a lot if we can,” said Paul. “We’ll have to go home and think about it deeply. Very deeply, with the coach. He says we’re in for three months of terror.”


Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll won gold in the lightweight pair on Saturday, turning on the speed in the third quarter. They had won the previous two World Cup regattas and the European Championships, but they wanted to show the opposition no weakness.

“Mark was making calls, ‘go 10 [strokes] hard now’,” O’Driscoll said. “I thought it was insane at the time, but I committed big time to it. It was like my last 10 strokes.

“Going through the middle, into the third quarter, he kept it really honest. He was keeping an eye out on each crew, and he said ‘we’re going to break them in the next 10’. So I went along with it and, thank God, we had that fitness coming to the line and we just went up and up.”

Sanita Puspure took third in the B Final of the women's single sculls and Monika Dukarska sixth, placing them ninth and 12th. Puspure was ill earlier in the season and wants to excel at the World Championships. "I feel like the season is just starting now," she said.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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