Olympic gold medallists will go head to head at this weekend’s 2021 Irish Rowing Championships

August 16th, 2021 5:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy will be in direct competition at the national championships.

Share this article

OLYMPIC gold medallists Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy will go head to head in the men’s lightweight single sculls at this weekend’s 2021 Irish Rowing Championships.

Together in the Irish lightweight men’s double sculls O’Donovan and McCarthy were crowned Olympic champions at the Tokyo Games, and are also World and European kingpins, but they’ll square off against each other in a stacked event at the nationals.

As well as Paul, who will be racing in UCC colours, and Fintan, representing Skibbereen Rowing Club, both Gary O’Donovan and Jake McCarthy, both Skibbereen RC too, will line up in an incredibly strong start list.

All four – Paul, Fintan, Gary and Jake – will also race in the men’s senior single as well, against heavyweights like Daire Lynch (Clonmel Rowing Club) and Ronan Byrne (UCC Rowing Club).

Gary O'Donovan will fly the Skibbereen RC flag this weekend.


The men’s senior double will also see sparks fly as Fintan and Gary team up for Skibbereen while Paul will be in the UCC double with another Irish Olympic rower Ronan Byrne.

Skibbereen RC also has a strong men’s senior quad crew as Fintan and Jake McCarthy, Gary O’Donovan and Finn O’Reilly will pool their strengths together, while Paul O’Donovan will be in action for UCC in the same race.

All six Skibbereen Olympians will be in action at the Irish Rowing Championships that will take place at the National Rowing Centre in Inniscarra this weekend (August 20th-22nd). As well as Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy and Gary O’Donovan, Olympic bronze medallist Emily Hegarty, Aoife Casey, who finished eighth in the lightweight women’s double, and Lydia Heaphy will all be in action. All three will be representing UCC Rowing Club. The women’s senior single promises to be an epic as Heaphy, fellow Olympians Margaret Cremen (UCC RC), Monika Dukarska (Killorglin RC) and the hugely-decorated Orla Hayes of Skibbereen RC will all be in action. Aoife Casey will also feature in a number of senior events.

Olympic bronze medallist Emily Hegarty will be racing in UCC colours this weekend.


There are 503 crews entered across 55 categories at the championships, and with so many High-Performance athletes, as well as Olympic medallists taking part, it promises to be another exciting weekend on the water.

Rowing Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Carpenter said: ‘After such remarkable Olympics Games from our team, I am delighted to see so many set to compete amongst a very impressive line-up at the Irish Rowing Championships 2021.

‘Our high-performance athletes have shown that they are some of the best in the world and it will be wonderful to see so many showcases their talents once again at the Kinetica National Rowing Centre. In addition, we have crews from our clubs and grassroots around the country coming to our home of Irish rowing. I am looking forward to what’s set to be a really exciting event.’

Share this article