Three Irish boats in semi-finals


ROWING:ALL THREE Ireland boats will be in action in tomorrow's semi-finals at the World Championships for non-Olympic events in Linz, Austria. A stirring finish by the men's coxed pair and a good performance in the middle of their race by the Coakley brothers in the lightweight pair saw both through their repechages yesterday.

The two crews join Sinead Jennings, who qualified directly from the heats of the lightweight single scull on Tuesday.

The Donegal woman likes to win her races, but she may have to pull out the stops tomorrow: she is drawn in the same semi-final as Lindsay Jennerich of Canada, who beat her to gold in the last World Cup in Poland.

The draw also includes 23-year-old Laura Milani of Italy, a former medallist at World Junior and World Under-23 level, and Julie Nichols of the US, who took silver in the lightweight double scull at the senior World Championships of 2005 and bronze in the same class in 2006. Only three can go forward to the A final.

The two men's crews were on rescue missions. On Tuesday, it all went wrong in the second half of their heat for the coxed pair of Alan Martin, James Wall and Mike Griffin.

But yesterday they made up for that with a fast final 300 metres which saw them sweep past the Czech Republic to snatch the third qualification place from them.

Eugene and Richard Coakley also had to finish in the top three of their repechage to qualify. After a tight opening quarter, the Ireland boat pushed away to lead through the 1,000 metre and 1,500-metre marks. Russia passed them in the final few hundred metres as Ireland faltered momentarily, but the brothers in green held off a New Zealand challenge close to the line.

All three qualified - with the Czech Republic, in fourth, again losing out.