The world champions of the last three years took gold, silver and bronze at the World Cup in Lucerne on Sunday, with the one crew threatening to muscle in on the party being the young unit from Ireland. The Ireland lightweight double of Paul and Gary O’Donovan faced their biggest test this year so far and while they finished fourth it was further proof that they are pushing into the elite in this Olympic event.
Reigning world champions France brought in Pierre Houin for Stany Delayre, but it worked: they held off Norway (2013 champions), South Africa (2014 kingpins) and Ireland in a sprint to the line. Britain, the 2015 silver medallists, were fifth, a length behind Ireland.
Gary O’Donovan had to take time out in recent weeks because of a slight illness, and the crew’s preparation was hit by exams. “We were a bit disappointed not to get a medal, but the final was our best race. There’s more to come from us this summer,” said Paul O’Donovan.
Their second and fourth places in Varese and Lucerne means they are in with a real shout of winning the World Cup series if they place well in the final World Cup in Poznan.
The Ireland women's lightweight double had an encouraging regatta, suggesting they are over the probem created by the injury to Claire Lambe in the spring. They won the B Final by a clear-water margin on Sunday, having been denied a place in the A Final by less than half a second on Saturday.