BY KIERAN McCARTHY
A WEST CORK town will hold its breath this afternoon – to cheer on two of its now most famous sons who go for gold at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan will compete in the A final of the men’s lightweight double sculls at the Games, and they are a genuine medal prospect.
Skibbbereen will come to a standstill at 2.44pm this Friday. All eyes will be on Gary and Paul, so well coached by Dominic Casey, the man behind Skibbereen Rowing Club’s success and rise to the top of Irish rowing.
Gary and Paul’s colourful interviews have made national and international headlines this week, and they are a breath of fresh air in a world that takes itself so seriously. They are having fun, enjoying the Games and the attention they’re getting, but don’t be fooled for one moment by the soundbites – these brothers are seriously focussed rowers who have worked for years to get to this point, within one race of an Olympic medal.
They are European champions after their success in Brandenburg in May, they’ve been consistent in the World Cup regattas, with a second and two fourth place finishes, and they’re still very young – Gary’s 23, Paul is 22. This is the start of their Olympic cycle. The best is yet to come.
Unfortunately, I’m on holidays now and have a wedding to attend today, so I’m missing out on the atmosphere in Skibbereen, but I wouldn’t miss the race at 2.44pm for anything, so we’re giving the church a skip, and instead our prayers are for two Skibb lads in Rio.
Pull like dogs, Gary and Paul, enjoy some steak after, and get Dominic his Kerr Pinks, but remember whatever happens, your hometown, family and friends are immensely proud of you and your achievements.
You have put Skibbereen and West Cork on the map.
You are heroes already.
Best of luck.