Six Skibbereen rowers to represent Ireland at the European Championships in Italy

March 27th, 2021 1:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Fintan McCarthy (right) and Paul O'Donovan have got off to a fast start at the European Rowing Championships.

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FINTAN McCarthy has been given the nod to partner Paul O’Donovan in the Irish lightweight men’s double at the upcoming European Rowing Championships in Italy.

Together, the Skibbereen Rowing Club duo won gold at the 2019 World Rowing Championships as they also qualified the boat for the Tokyo Olympics – and this pairing is now in the driving seat to represent Ireland at this summer’s Games.

The trialling process for the two seats in the Irish lightweight men’s double has involved four Skibbereen rowers – the O’Donovan brothers, Gary and Paul, who won silver in this boat at the 2016 Games, and the McCarthy twins, Fintan and Jake, though Jake missed a chunk of 2020 through injury so had fallen well behind the other three.

Last Saturday, after an intense week of trials, Fintan and four-time world champion Paul received the news that they will go forward to the European Rowing Championships in Varese, which run from April 9th to 11th.

They will also compete at World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne in May and are in pole position to be in the boat for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July, with the final crew selection to be announced in June.

While Gary O’Donovan has missed out on a seat in the double he will compete in the lightweight men’s single at the Europeans, and he will look to keep the pressure on Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy ahead of the final crew selection for the Olympics.

Skibbereen Rowing Club’s Aoife Casey will partner Margaret Cremen in the lightweight women’s double at the Europeans, and this boat still has a chance to qualify for the Olympics. The final qualification regatta will take place in Lucerne in May, and Casey and Cremen will look to kickstart that qualification bid with a good showing at the Europeans. They have competed together for several years and won silver in the same category at the 2020 European U23 Rowing Championships.

Another Skibbereen rower, Lydia Heaphy, will race in the lightweight women’s single in Italy early next month. She won gold in the women’s lightweight pair at the 2020 European U23 Rowing Championships before winning the B final at last year’s senior European Championships in October.

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