ROWING U-23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:IRISH rowing took a step forward yesterday when the lightweight quadruple scull took silver at the World Under-23 Championships at Brest in Belarus. Yesterday, the crew of Niall Kenny of NUIG, Michael Maher of Commercial, Mark O'Donovan of Skibbereen and Justin Ryan of UCC stayed true to their fighting instincts.
Germany were the dominant force for the whole race and Ireland were the only crew which chased them all down the course and gave them a real test at the end. Ireland finished over four seconds ahead of Britain, who came through the pack to pip Italy for the bronze medal.
O’Donovan and Kenny had finished 13th last year in the lightweight double scull and O’Donovan was thrilled: “We got hockeyed last year,” the Skibbereen man said. “It was a different story this time.”
The results of Ireland’s three other crews in action yesterday in B finals – they all finished in the top 10 overall – also suggested the future may be bright for some.
“They are the vanguard of our senior athletes for the future,” said Ireland performance director Martin McElroy. “We also need to keep the pipeline full behind them.”
The standout performance in the B finals yesterday was by Lisa Dilleen in the single scull.
The Galway 19-year-old competed in the Junior World Championships last year but took time off to do her Leaving Certificate this year.
The race leader for the bulk of the 2,000 metres was Ivana Filipovic of Serbia, with Nicole Beukers of the Netherlands a clear second. But in the final quarter Dilleen outpaced both. She put Beukers under severe pressure and the Dutch woman had to sprint to the finish, almost catching the Serbian. In third, Dilleen had over four and a half seconds to spare over fourth-placed Denisa Cvancarova of the Czech Republic.
The lightweight double scull of Claire Lambe and Sarah Dolan (celebrating her 20th birthday) finished with a placing of eighth.
They held off the United States for second in their B Final, behind Spain in a competitive race.
The lightweight men’s pair of Peter Hanily and Anthony English finished fourth in their B final, 10th overall. Peter Chambers from Coleraine, competing for Britain, took silver in the lightweight single scull behind Iran’s Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh.
At the Home International Regatta at the National Rowing Centre in Cork on Saturday, Ireland’s women took both the senior and the junior titles. England won the men’s senior competition and Wales the junior.
The Ireland Under-23 team is due into Dublin Airport on a flight from Warsaw about midday today.