Paul and Gary O’Donovan make history with silver medal in Rio

O’Donovan brothers from Cork claim a first ever Olympic rowing medal for Ireland

Irish rowers Paul and Gary O’Donovan celebrate their silver medal in the men's lightweight double sculls. Video: RTÉ

a
 

Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan won the first Irish rowing medal at the Olympic Games today. The Ireland lightweight double took silver behind France in a thrilling finish in Rio de Janeiro.

France were the top crew at the 1,000 metres and 1500 metres, but they took gold only after a three-boat charge to the line. The O’Donovans, from UCD and Skibbereen rowing clubs gave the French the severest test, but the Irish had to hold off Norway who finished third. Just .7 of a second covered the three crews.

The O’Donovans had said all season that their aim was to win gold in Rio de Janeiro, and they competed as if they meant it. They did not make their usual slow start and were in the hunt all through.

On a wet morning at the Lagoa, the Cork brothers shone with a fine performance that brought with it a deserved podium spot.

The O’Donovans produced the race of their life, with another strong finish seeing them come from fifth at the halfway mark to win silver in six minutes 31.23 seconds.

Second Captains

The Skibbereen siblings got their regatta under way by winning their heat, before a rapid finish saw them through to the final in third. Drawn in lane one, a medal appeared a big ask yet their power in the final half of the race brought with it a place on the podium. France’s Pierre Houin and Jeremie Azou secured gold, 0.53 secs ahead of the O’Donovan brothers.

“We’re still trying to come to terms with it. We wanted to win gold medal but to come away with the silver, we’re just so happy,” said Paul afterwards.

You pulled like dogs? “We did yeah. We are a little bit disappointed we didn’t come away with the gold medal. We’re afraid to go home, Mick Conlan said he’d box the head off us if we didn’t win gold!”

Ireland’s Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe had to settle for sixth place in their final of the lightweight double sculls.

The race was won impressively by the Netherlands. They started well and were in the leading group of three with South Africa and the China. As they other two faded, the Netherlands pushed on and held off a challenge by Canada, who took silver, with China third.

The Ireland crew did not start badly and held on to the leading group until halfway. But they needed to be in the mix in the closing stages and were not.

After heavy rain in the morning, the conditions cleared and were reasonable for rowing.

Coleraine man Alan Campbell, representing Britain, had to settle for a B Final place in the single sculls, as he finished second in the semi-final. Another Coleraine man, Richard Chambers, was in the lightweight double crew which won the B Final. His brother, Peter, had been in the Britain lightweight four which won the B Final.

a
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.