IRELAND’S Olympic heroes Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy did it yet again at the European Rowing Championships.
The Skibbereen rowers won yet another European gold medal in Munich on Sunday, their third at the competition overall.
The dominant lightweight double sculls crew won gold at the Worlds in Ottensheim in 2019, at the European Championships in Varese in 2021 and at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
They coasted to victory in their typically imperious fashion, sitting ominously in second behind Switzerland’s Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ireland for much of the 2000m race.
However, with 500m to go, the Irish crew surged clear of their rivals to stop the clock in six minutes 34.72 seconds.
Speaking to RTE afterwards, Paul O’Donovan – whose gold medal in Tokyo came five years on from silver in Rio in 2016 – paid tribute to his crewmate.
He said: “[The calmness] was all Fintan, really.
“I have been very slow all year and Fintan has really stepped up his game and has been dragging me along so I had an easier ride out there, which was good.”
While he insisted that they did not alter their strategy to adapt to their rivals, O’Donovan did reveal he used his own method to intimidate the Italian crew.
He continued: “We don’t change much, really. There is no point worrying about what the others are going to do too much, really.
Most read in Other Sports
“I went up the Italians before and gave them a big aul shoulder as they were launching the boat.
“It kind of shook them and they knew what was going to come down the middle of the track.
“Fintan was able to step up and deliver them the final blow. It worked out well.”
Attentions will now turn to the World Chamionships which take place in September in Racice, Czech Republic.
However, O’Donovan admitted that his own place in the championships is not certain.
He said: “I have to go back to school there next week or something.
“Most people have realised I am a bit stupid, I need all the time studying that I can get, so I don’t fail everything and have an absolute disaster.
“The world championships will be in question for myself, anyway, so we will see.”