SKIBBEREEN’S famous five rowers are all through to their semi-finals at the 2017 European Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic following Friday’s action.
The five Skibbereen Rowing Club stars representing Ireland – Denise Walsh, Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll, and Gary and Paul O’Donovan – all kept their medal hopes alive ahead of the weekend.
First up this morning was Denise Walsh in the lightweight women’s single sculls. Denise won her heat with a time of seven minutes and 44 seconds, just over four and a half seconds faster than second place Denmark, only needing a top three finish to avoid the repechages and go through to the A/B semi-finals. Walsh will now race at 9am Irish time tomorrow morning in a bid to reach the medal race, the A final, on Sunday. She will again need a top three finish.
Defending European champions Paul and Gary O’Donovan took the longer route to their A/B semi-final, racing in a heat this morning in which they placed a respectable second, however only the winner was to progress directly. The O’Donovans needed to race again in the afternoon in the repechages, which they went on to win, securing their spot in the all-important semi-final and keeping a medal in their sights. They are now scheduled to race the semi tomorrow morning at 11.04am Irish time.
Meanwhile, Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan raced a preliminary race this afternoon to decide which lane they will take for Sunday’s A final. They beat the field comfortably, almost two seconds ahead of Italy in second, putting them in the best possible position for the medal race. Due to an entry of just six crews in the lightweight men’s pair, no heats or semi-finals are required and the Skibbereen rowers will not feature again until the final.
Rowing Ireland’s team manager Susan Dunlea said that ‘the whole team was delighted with today’s results.’
She added that ‘the athletes are in great form, feeling positive and looking forward to enjoying the rest of the weekend’s racing.’
Conditions in Racice are near perfect, with temperatures of roughly 25 degrees and very low wind levels.
Rowing Ireland were delighted to confirm live RTE coverage of Irish crews for the remainder of the weekend, starting at 8.55am Saturday morning until midday, and 9.15am to 1.30pm covering the Finals on Sunday.
Lightweight women’s single sculls, Heat 1: 1. Denise Walsh IRL 07:44.850, 2. DEN 07:49.490, 3. POL 07:49.900, 4. CZE 08:05.070, 5. POR 08:08.190
Lightweight men’s double sculls, Heat 3: 1. POL 06:25.930, 2. IRL 06:32.150, 3. RUS 06:36.380, 4. SUI 06:40.600, 5. AUT 06:57.630
Lightweight men’s pair, Preliminary Race: 1. IRL 06:57.770, 2. ITA 06:59.820, 3. RUS 07:01.750, 4. GBR 07:03.390, 5. FRA 07:06.680, 6. TUR 07:17.360
Lightweight men’s double sculls, Repechage 3: 1. IRL 06:34.330, 2. UKR 06:36.510, 3. POR 06:40.750, 4. SWE 07:05.890