They race in the A final of the men's lightweight pair at the World Rowing Championships in Florida today, at 5pm Irish time - but just who are Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll? Here's a quick look at both.
First off, Mark is no relation to fellow Skibbereen Rowing Club athletes, Gary and Paul O’Donovan. In fact, Mark is the senior of this group, at 28-years-old, and the Poundlick, Skibbereen man already has a world U23 silver medal to his name – he was in a lightweight quad that included fellow Skibb rower Justin Ryan back in 2010 in Belarus.
Working as a strength and conditioning coach, as well as rowing, the son of Skibb postman Christy and Eileen and brother of Sean and Marie, has formed an excellent pair with Shane O’Driscoll as seen by their results this year – winning gold at the European Rowing Championships as well as at the three World Rowing Cup regattas.
They are improving all the time, finishing fourth in the world last year and are now favourites to be crowned world champions later today.
Kilkilleen native Shane was in the same class in Lisheen National School with Gary and a class ahead of Paul, and best friends with the two all the way up, with Diarmuid O’Driscoll also firmly in the mix.
The 25-year-old has represented Ireland internationally every year since 2008 and since he has formed a pair with Mark O’Donovan, they’ve been on an upward curve – they were seventh at the worlds in 2015, fourth last season and now they are European champs. They also won the lightweight pair at the three World Cup regattas this year.
The son of Mary and the late Denis, Shane is the middle child to brothers Denis and Kevin, and is a qualified civil engineer.