GARY O’Donovan fired a timely reminder that he’s not gone anywhere with a silver medal at the Memorial Paolo d'Aloja International Regatta in Italy last weekend.
The 29-year-old Skibbereen man – the sub in last year’s Olympic-winning Irish men’s lightweight double – powered to silver in the men’s open weight single on Saturday morning at the regatta held at the Italian National Rowing Centre in Piediluco.
O’Donovan was part of a large Rowing Ireland team competing at the regatta that helped gauge form early in the season.
Five of the six Irish rowers in the lightweight group were flying the Skibbereen Rowing Club flag – Gary O’Donovan, Olympic gold medallist Fintan McCarthy, his twin brother Jake McCarthy, Tokyo Olympian Aoife Casey and Lydia Heaphy. Olympic bronze medal winner Emily Hegarty, part of the successful women’s four crew in Tokyo, was also in action and also got on the podium.
Saturday, and its challenging conditions, was a busy day for the Skibbereen contingent. Leap oarsman Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen came fourth in the women’s open double, while Fintan and Jake McCarthy finished seventh in the men’s open double. Aoife Casey and Emily Hegarty raced to fourth and fifth respectively in the women’s open single. On Sunday, Hegarty won a bronze medal in the women’s open single while Heaphy rowed to an encouraging silver in the women’s lightweight single. In the men’s open double, Fintan McCarthy and Gary O’Donovan joined forces to finish in fourth place, as Skibb and Ireland’s finest dusted the cobwebs off their oars and took their first steps in the 2022 season.
The Rowing Ireland team is now spending the next number of weeks at a training camp in northern Italy as they ramp up preparations for the season ahead.