O’Donovan brothers return home after historic win
Hundreds of supporters greeted Ireland’s first-ever Olympic medallists in rowing
Paul and Gary O’Donovan with the steak and spuds presented to them at their homecoming at Cork Airport. Photograph: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton
A general view of fans attending the O’Donovan brothers’ homecoming at Cork Airport. Photograph: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton
Olympic silver medallist rowers Gary and Paul O’Donovan received a rapturous reception as they arrived home at Cork Airport on Sunday night.
Hundreds of supporters gathered at the airport to welcome the brothers home, with many donning T-shirts with the slogans “Shteak”, “Spuds” and “Row Like a Dog”.
Cork Airport had arranged for a special welcome for the rowers, as their Aer Lingus plane taxied through a water arch created by two fire brigade units.
Paul said the welcome was “great craic”.
“We’ve been looking forward to coming home to west Cork and Skibbereen since we left Rio. It is incredible.
“Every kid in west Cork will get their hands on one of these medals at some stage.”
Gary said he was anticipating the homecoming in Skibbereen.
“We’ve heard lots of rumours about the homecoming. From what we’ve heard, most of Ireland is going to be moving to Skibbereen. We are really looking forward to that. It will all be mighty craic.
“Hopefully everyone will enjoy the celebration and, who knows, if it persuades some young fella or young girl to try rowing as a sport, it will all have been worth it.
Gary and Paul won Ireland’s first-ever Olympic medal in rowing when they came second in the lightweight double sculls final.
Paul O’Donovan also came first in the men’s lightweight sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam on Saturday.
He is only the fourth Irish sculler to win a gold medal in an “A” at senior World Championship level.
Skibbereen is set to come to a standstill on Monday, with up to 10,000 people expected to attend the homecoming celebrations.
A civic reception for the brothers will also be held in Cork County Hall later this week.