Olympic gold heroes Paul and Fintan battle it out for the Irish men’s senior rowing championships
SKIBBEREEN’s – and by default Ireland’s – only Olympic rowing gold medalists will compete head-to-head at this weekend’s Irish Rowing Championships at the National Rowing Center in Inniscarra.
While Fintan McCarthy will fly the Skibbereen Rowing Club flag, his Irish men’s lightweight accomplice Paul O’Donovan will be on duty for UCC, where he is studying medicine. Together they have conquered the Olympics, the World Championships and the European Championships, but on Sunday they will face off in the senior men’s singles final. A coveted Irish Championship title is up for grabs.
At the 2021 Nationals, heavyweight rower Daire Lynch caused a shock when he beat both O’Donovan and McCarthy for second and third place. Lynch is absent this year so it could turn into a direct shootout between the two Olympians from Skibb. Also in the hunt are the Skibbereen trio of Gary O’Donovan, Finn O’Reilly and Michael Hourihane, while Rosscarbery’s Kealan Mannix is representing UL.
Skibbereen Rowing Club, the country’s most successful rowing club, will be looking to extend its record 186 titles this weekend. They have assembled a strong squad led by Fintan McCarthy, Gary O’Donovan and Lydia Heaphy, who is back in Skibb colors after her stint at UCC.
It’s worth noting that four Skibbereen rowers – Aoife Casey, Emily Hegarty, Paul O’Donovan and Jake McCarthy – will wear UCC colors this weekend. But there are races that combine UCC and Skibb, like the senior women’s eights composite team, which will see Heaphy, Orla Hayes and Marie Pigott join Olympians like Emily Hegarty and Margaret Cremen. Also, a Skibbereen/UCC crew including six Skibb rowers (Fintan McCarthy, Oisin Boyle, Finn O’Reilly, Michael Hourihane, Eoin Murran and Daire Kavanagh) will join Paul O’Donovan in Sunday night’s men’s round of 16 and UCC’s Ronan Byrne.
Here’s the talented Skibbereen RC crew heading to the championships (Friday to Sunday) –
Older women: Orla Hayes, Kate O’Brien, Louise McCarthy, Alyssa Mannix, Lydia Heaphy, Marie Pigott.
Older men: Fintan McCarthy, Gary O’Donovan, Oisin Boyle, Finn O’Reilly, Michael Hourihane, Eoin Murran, Daire Kavanagh.
juniors: Kelly Oforji, Aoife Hendy, Jessica Crowley, Ailise O’Sullivan, Hazel Deane, Niamh O’Donovan, Lucy Cannon, Alannah Keane.
Junior men: Cathal O’Donovan, Christopher O’Donovan, Cathal McCarthy, Dominic Casey, Jonathan McCarthy.
cox: Louise Murran.
Skibb will also have a strong roster of 16 men’s and women’s junior crews including Rowan O’Driscoll, Stephen Harrington, James Stout, Tomas Burchill, Oran Roycroft, Ultan Kearney, Eoin O’Donovan, Patryk Balasa, Chloe O’Donovan and Audrey McCarthy, Eimear Martin, Caitriona O’Neill, Julia Cotter, Orla Seymour, Eveanna Goulding, and Brianna McCarthy.
Meanwhile, Skibbereen Rowing Club enjoyed great success with eight wins at the Rowing Ireland 1K Classic (Junior Championships) last weekend at the National Rowing Centre. Among the winners – MJ15 1X: Tomás Burchill, James Stout; WJ15 1X: Hazel Deane, Aoife Hendy; WJ14 1X: Audrey McCarthy; MY15 4X+: Tomás Burchill, James Stout, Patryk Balassa, Eoin O’Donovan; WY14 4X+: Abigail Fowler, Sarah Coughlan, Eve Waugh-O’Brien, Audrey McCarthy; WY15 8X+: Hazel Deane, Alannah Keane, Chloe O’Donovan, Audrey McCarthy, Eveanna Goulding, Eve Waugh-O’Brien, Abigail Fowler, Robin Arentz. Cox: Bernadette Walsh.