IRELAND took home four medals at the 2020 European Championships in Poznan.
Ballincollig-based Sanita Puspure won the gold medal in the Women’s Single Sculls and retained her European Championship. The other Irish medal winners, Fintan McCarthy (LM1x), Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch (MX2), Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh (W4-), all won bronze medals in their A finals.
Skibbereen had several athletes competing, including Emily Hegarty, who teamed up with Tara Hanlon in the W2- crew, and kicked off the Irish team’s racing on day one on Friday. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Russia, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.
The crew finished third with a time of 07:16.590. Tara and Emily went on to race in the repechage on Saturday. With big competition from Belarus, the Netherlands and Denmark, Tara and Emily finished first with a time of 7:16.67 and qualified for the A final on Sunday.
The Irish pair were competing with crews from Romania, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Italy in the final. They finished fifth with a time of 07:28.280.
Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single, facing crews from Norway, Poland, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. She finished sixth in her heat with a time of 08:01.550 and raced in the repechage on Saturday morning, where she faced competition from the Russian and Polish crews and finished fourth with a time of 7:58.49 to qualify for the B Final.
Lydia won the B Final, beating crews from Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia on Sunday morning. She finished the race with a time of 08:03.280.
The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen from Rochestown and Skibbereen’s Aoife Casey finished fourth in their heat. They competed against crews from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece and Latvia and moved into the repechage later on Friday afternoon, where they finished second with a time of 07:03.990 to qualify for the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday.
Margaret and Aoife faced competition from Italy, Belarus and Switzerland. They finished fifth with a time of 7:08.98. In the B Final on Sunday, they came second, competing against crews from the Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Latvia and Spain and finished with a time of 07:18.780.
Skibbereen’s Fintan McCarthy competed in the Lightweight Men’s Single on the opening day against crews from Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany. He finished third with a time of 07:05.980.
Fintan moved into the repechage later on Friday afternoon and finished first with a time of 07:07.35, to qualify for the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday. He rowed in a tough race with crews from Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic and finished second with a time of 6:57.10.
In the A Final on Sunday, Fintan competed against crews from Norway, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Belgium. Kristoffer Brun from Norway took the gold and Niels Torre from Italy finished second, while Fintan finished third with a time of 07:02.150 to claim the bronze medal.
Sanita Puspure raced in the Women’s Single Scull in heat two on Friday, competing against crews from the Netherlands, France, Serbia and Germany. She finished second with a time of 07:35.510 and advanced to the A/B Semi-Finals on Saturday morning, where she raced with the Austrian and Danish crews either side of her, with the three crews securing their places in the A Final on Sunday. Sanita finished second with a time of 7:37.84.
Sanita won the A Final ahead of Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou. She was competing against crews from the Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Switzerland. Sanita finished with a time of 07:36.040 and is now a double World and European Champion in the Women’s Single Scull.
Seven Irish crews were competing on the final day. Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh won bronze in the Women’s Four A Final, finishing third just behind the Italian crew with a time of 06:41.210 and they just narrowly missed out on the silver to the Swiss crew.
Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch won bronze in the A Final in the Men’s Double Sculls. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Romania, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. Daire and Ronan finished third with a time of 06:41.210.
Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, congratulated all crews, coaches and support staff on the excellent performances and results at the European Rowing Championships.
‘Winning four medals, one gold and three bronze is a brilliant accomplishment for Irish rowing this weekend. Out of our seven crews entered, five reached the A Final in their category, and two achieved excellent results in the B Finals.’
He added: ‘ These results have continued our success this year at U23 and Junior European Championships. We now have nine medals from three competitions at three different levels.
‘We are not considered the underdog anymore, and we all need to do better and push the bar higher to keep our current level of international competitiveness.’
Mr Maurogiovanni continued: ‘One of Rowing Ireland's high-performance ambitions was to have a system able to offer to all our athletes the chance to be competitive in making finals and ultimately winning medals across all the categories including Senior, U23, Junior, Male, Female, Lightweight and Heavyweight. We are in the right direction, but a lot needs to be done.
‘I want to thank all of the athletes, coaches, support staff and clubs for all their continued hard work and dedication. A big thank you to all of the national coaches, Dominic Casey, Giuseppe De Vita, Fran Kean, John Armstrong and Ciro Prisco. These results would not be possible if it wasn't for everyone working together as a team with passion and enthusiasm.
He concluded: ‘We are grateful to be able to compete in tournaments given the current health situation, and we thank World Rowing for organising this event. We now look forward to 2021 and the opportunity to qualify more boats for the Olympics next summer.’
Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – 1st Place – B Final.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – 2nd Place – B Final
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – 3rd Place – A Final
Women’s Pair (W2-) – 5th Place – A Final
Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – 3rd Place – A Final
Women’s Four (W4-) – 3rd Place – A Final
Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – 1st Place – A Final