O’Driscoll and O’Donovan pass the test at Ireland trial

Rowing: Skib duo up their rate to win in pairs race in Cork and book their place in Belgrade

Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan, world champions in the lightweight pair but now campaigning as heavyweights, survived a real test at the Ireland trial today at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

Belfast man Patrick Boomer, who is 6ft 5in tall, and Shandon man Andy Harrington (6ft 8in) led for much of the pairs race and were bested only when the Skibbereen men upped their rate. They won by 2.8 seconds.

The results opens up the question of what crews will be chosen for the World Cup regatta in Belgrade in two weeks' time. Just O'Donovan and O'Driscoll could be sent, or both pairs might go – or the team management might opt to create a four.

Three Olympians showed plenty of class in the almost-perfect conditions. Paul O'Donovan won the lightweight single and Gary O'Donovan took second. They formed the lightweight double which took silver in Rio and are looking forward to Belgrade. They also hope to go to the second World Cup in Linz-Ottensheim in Austria. "It is where the World Championships will be held in 2019," Gary pointed out.


The 2019 regatta is where places for the Olympics will be booked.

Sanita Puspure won her single sculls race with an outstanding performance, sprinting to the end. The Old Collegians woman said she was “all right” again after recovering from injury and was looking forward to Belgrade.

Denise Walsh won the lightweight singles trial from Margaret Cremen of Lee. Aoife Casey was absent because of exams. The women's pair of Emily Hegarty and Aifric Keogh were also impressive winners on the day.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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