BY KIERAN McCARTHY
SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club’s Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan won gold medals for Ireland at World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade this Sunday morning.
Making it a great few hours for the West Cork club, Denise Walsh won a silver medal but 2016 Olympic silver medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in the lightweight men’s double sculls.
Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan got the day off to the best possible start when they won gold in the men’s lightweight pair. There were only four crews in this race so their chances of success were high but they still produced the goods, leading from before the half-way mark to stay in front of Russia, Great Britain and Hungary to win in a time of 6:46.650, a second ahead of Russia.
Speaking after the win, Mark O’Donovan said: ‘Feeling really good during the race, we’ve got a new coach, so that is a new step for Ireland. Going forward we are going to a training camp in Varese and looking to implement new training and technique before Europeans.’
In the lightweight women’s single sculls A final, Denise Walsh finished strong to win a silver medal in the women’s lightweight single sculls A final. She was in fifth place after the first 500 metres and was still in fifth at the halfway mark, but moved up to fourth place with 500 metres to go, and then made her move to finish in second, in 7:56.240, behind Switzerland and ahead of Poland.
It was then the turn of Gary and Paul O’Donovan in the men’s lightweight double sculls. Gary and Paul went through the first 500 metres in sixth place, almost two seconds behind Great Britain in first, and the Skibb men were up to fifth at the halfway mark with little to separate the crews. Gary and Paul moved into third place with 500 metres to go but they couldn’t match the strong finishes of Great Britain, Czech Republic and Poland, who took the first three spots.