BY KIERAN McCARTHY
FORMER Skibbereen Olympic rower Timmy Harnedy feels there’s more to come from Fintan and Jake McCarthy following their fifth place finish at the European Rowing Championships in Lucerne.
The Skibbereen twins (22), in the men’s lightweight double, can be very happy with their performances from the heats on Friday through to Sunday’s final where they finished well to beat Denmark to fifth spot and finish half a second behind Spain in fourth.
‘That was an amazing result. They want to be the best in the world and they are not that far off it now. They’ll be a bit disappointed but they have absolutely nothing to be disappointed about. It was a massive performance over the weekend and there is a lot more to come from the lads,’ Harnedy told RTÉ.
Fintan and Jake finished second in their heat on Friday and went straight into the A/B semi-final on Saturday. Here, they came third in a close race, with Germany and Spain just ahead of them. That was enough to qualify them for the A final on Sunday morning.
This result means the Skibbereen duo are now fifth in the European rankings in the lightweight men’s double – and this is the boat that Gary and Paul O’Donovan won world gold in last year.
With Paul unable to compete in the Europeans because of exam commitments, and Gary in the single, this was a chance for Fintan and Jake to stake their claim for a seat in the boat ahead of the world rowing championships at the end of the summer. The worlds double up as 2020 Olympic qualifiers.
The upcoming national trials will be interesting as Gary and Paul look to fight off the challenge of Fintan and Jake.
‘All four of them have a realistic chance of making that boat. They are all looking at each other and saying, “it’s either you or me”. The two fastest guys will want to be in the boat. We want to create the fastest crew that’s going to win the world championships,’ former Irish rower Neville Maxwell said.
‘Gary and Paul are obviously world champions and Olympic silver medallists but they have a job on their hands to keep that berth.’
Speaking after the fifth place finish on Sunday, Jake said: ‘We are still learning. This is our first European championships together and our first race against the top senior crews in the Olympic boat class. We always expected that the level would be a step up, especially in the final. We went off well enough. I think we could have been a bit more in the pack. But we gave it our all.’
Of the competition with Gary and Paul, Jake added: ‘It’s good for the four of us that we have each other to push off. Whatever crew is formed down the line is going to be a pretty good crew and a very high standard. It’s good for everyone involved.’
Meanwhile, the new lightweight women’s double of Denise Walsh and Lydia Heaphy finished 12th overall in their first senior international regatta in the boat.
The Skibbereen duo were only paired together two weeks before the Europeans so there was little expectation on them heading to Lucerne. They finished third in their heat on Friday. That sent them straight into the A/B semi-final and they finished sixth here. In the B final, won by The Netherlands, Denise and Lydia finished sixth.
There was great news on Sunday when Ballincollig’s Sanita Puspure won gold in the A final of the women’s single sculls.