Paul and Gary O’Donovan on glory trail at World Cup Regatta

European champions hope to avenge earlier defeat to John Smith and James Thompson

Paul and Gary O'Donovan started their season by taking silver at the first World Cup Regatta in Varese in Italy; they will begin their campaign in the second World Cup Regatta by taking on the crew that beat them.

South Africa, the holders of the world's best time in the lightweight double sculls, are the standout unit in Ireland's heat on the first day at Lucerne.

Ireland have become European champions in the interim, so whatever element of surprise they had in Varese, when they came within a quarter of a second of James Thompson and John Smith, will be gone.

Both crews will be an odds-on bet to progress to the semi-finals. Beyond that the opposition will be fierce: Britain's Will Fletcher and Richard Chambers step up to this level for the first time this season; France introduce their new crew, with Pierre Houin joining Jeremie Azou. The United States enter the fray. Norway will also compete.


Similar quality


Claire Lambe

and Sinéad Jennings in the women’s lightweight double, the opposition is of similar quality, with the United States and world champions New Zealand being new challenges for them this season. Their tricky heat pits Ireland against New Zealand, Russia, Chile and Germany – with just two to go directly to the semi-finals. The Netherlands, one of the best crews of recent years, will not take part as they have just come through the Olympic qualifier.

The Ireland crew's results have disappointed, but Lambe recently said: "I feel like now the confidence is very robust. We are going through a bad patch but not for a second have I doubted." The Dubliner confirmed she will study in Cambridge next year. She has been talking to Rob Baker, the former Ireland under-23 coach who now coaches Cambridge Women's Boat Club.

Belfast Sprint Regatta on Saturday has drawn a strongly-local entry. The women's senior single, with seven entries, looks keenly competitive. Four of the entrants – Chloe Deyermond, Róisín Maguire, Olivia Blundell and Kirsty Turner – are set to trial for Irish team places (World University Championships).

Final trials

The final trials for under-23 athletes, juniors and those hoping to go to the World

University Championships

is set for June 11th and 12th at the National Rowing Centre.

The Crossing the Line summit in Trinity College this Saturday should be excellent. Greg Louganis, Niall Quinn and Ben Jonnson spoke of their dark times around retirement – and Jonson told of a previously unknown positive test in 1986 – at a curtain raiser on Thursday. The organisers, former Olympic rowers Niall O'Toole and Gearóid Towey, say all athletes will be welcome.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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