BY CLARA O'BRIEN
DAY two of the European Rowing Championships in Munich was a good one for Skibbereen's rowers.
After today's action, Ireland has six crews into the A finals over the weekend.
There was early disappointment, however, with the unfortunate withdrawals of the Irish women's double and women's eight due to illness.
The three remaining crews racing on Friday were facing the repechages, in the hopes of making it through to the main event this weekend; the A finals. Not only did they all qualify, the women's pair, lightweight women's scull and lightweight women's double all won their respective races, securing A finals for all of the Irish crews competing.
Bronze Olympic medallists, Fiona Murtagh (NUIG BC) and Emily Hegarty (UCC RC), set the standard for today's racing in the repechage of the women's pair. After a solid start, the Irish crew sat in third place through to the 1000m mark, where they then made their move on the crews from the Czech Republic and Greece. Through to the finish the girls continued to increase the gap between themselves and the rest of the field, finishing in a time of 7:40.28, four seconds faster than the Greek pair in second.
Skibbereen rower Aoife Casey followed where Fiona and Emily left off, winning her race and posting the fastest time out of the two LW1x repechages. Coming from behind, Aoife started out in third position, moving into second through the third quarter, and pushed ahead of Stefania Buttignon of Italy to take the win in the last 500. She goes on to race the A final this Sunday at 10:36am (IST).
Rounding up the day for team Ireland, Margaret Cremen (UCC RC) and Lydia Heaphy (Skibbereen RC) delivered a showstopper of a race, leading from the pontoon and holding their position right to the finish. Throughout the race, the Swiss double of Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol stayed within touching distance of the Irish double. They put up a strong fight coming to the finish but Margaret and Lydia were able to hold them off, beating them by just .03 of a second. They race the A Final on Sunday along with the other Irish lightweight crews.
Saturday kicks off the first day of A finals with the women's pair (10:44am) and women's four (11:16am) battling it out to try make it on to the podium. The finals will be played live on RTÉ2.