Casey: Late switch won't faze Paul O'Donovan

September 24th, 2017 10:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

Paul O'Donovan

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PAUL O’Donovan won’t be fazed in the slightest by the late change to his plans for the World Rowing Championships, according to coach Dominic Casey.

World lightweight single scull champion Paul (23) will defend his title at the senior worlds in Florida, with his first race this Sunday.

Paul and his brother Gary were expected to compete in the men’s lightweight double – but those plans were shelved after Gary was hit with a viral infection that hindered his preparations for the biggest regatta of the year.

This late change of plans now sees Paul compete in the lightweight single while Gary has travelled as a reserve.

‘Paul has been training in the single as well as the double so there’s no changeover really,’ explained Dominic Casey, Rowing Ireland High Performance Coach.

‘They train in the single all year round as well as the double. It’s a mixture of both.

‘This late change of plans wouldn’t affect him at all, he’s well capable in the single.’

Paul (pictured) won gold in the single scull at last August’s world championships in Rotterdam just weeks after his Olympic silver success with Gary in Rio.

He is one of five Skibbereen Rowing Club athletes who have travelled with the Irish team because as well as Gary (reserve), Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan will race in the men’s lightweight pair and Denise Walsh takes part in the women’s lightweight single scull; the latter trio will compete in their respective heats this Sunday.

Shane and Mark are looking to complete a clean sweep of international gold medals this year having won gold at the three World Cup regattas (Belgrade, Poznan and Lucerne) and at the European Rowing Championships in the Czech Republic in May.

It’s been a remarkable season for the Skibbereen pair and they are intent on being crowned world champions in Florida next week.

‘The worlds are the big one,’ Shane said.

‘They’re the biggest regatta of the year.

‘We have had a good season so far but we need to finish it off now with another gold. That’s what we want.’

• See pages 18-19 for more. 

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