Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde (above) won a fourth medal for Ireland on the final day of the World Rowing Championships in Racice.
The women’s double sculls final served up an exciting finish. Romania and the Netherlands annexed the top two places, but Ireland and Austria fought to the line. Puspure and Hyde dug in and gave it everything and deservedly took the bronze.
The successful Sunday followed a starry Saturday and exciting Friday. Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won gold in the lightweight double sculls; Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen pulled out the stops to take bronze in the women’s lightweight double. Katie O’Brien started the run when she won gold in the PR2 single.
The Sunday session produced a sobering moment for the Sinkovic brothers. The famous Croatian crew could not make the podium in the double sculls as France took the gold. The United States won the B Final, while Ireland’s Konan Pazzaia and Phil Doyle won the C Final, placing 13th overall.
The Ireland crew had been desperately unlucky not to have qualified for at least a B final – in the quarter-finals the lost out by 0.03 of a second in a time which would have put them through in any other race. They had overlapped with the United States.
Brian Colsh took third in his C Final of the single sculls. This placed the 20-year-old 15th overall at his first World Championships.
In the women’s single, Alison Bergin was fifth in a race won by Kara Kohler, an American star who came into the Championships with hopes of a medal.
A gold medal for the Ireland lightweight men’s double of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy (below) and a bronze for the women’s lightweight double of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen (above) headed up a brilliant day for the team in green at the World Championships in Racice.
O’Donovan and McCarthy won World Championship gold in 2019, Olympic gold in 2021 and now have added another World Championship win. They left Italy to take silver, while Ukraine won bronze.
However, it was new territory for Cremen and Casey, who were winning their first World Championship medal. They won a battle with France for third as Britain and the United States took gold and silver.
The women’s four were disappointed to take sixth in their final, while the PR2 mixed double of Steve McGowan and Katie O’Brien finished one place better in their final.
Tara Hanlon and Natalie Long raised a strong cheer from the Ireland fans as they took a very good second in the B Final of the women’s pair. They put themselves in a strong position in the top three at 1500 metres, then passed Australia and gave the host country, the Czech Republic, a rattle coming up to the line.
The men’s four came within eight hundredths of a second of winning their B Final. Poland led this race until the 1500 metres mark, though by then the United States, Germany and Ireland were right up with them. The Irish and the Germans both passed Poland coming to the line. In a photo finish, Germany landed the win and seventh place overall.
The 26-year-old Galway woman won the PR2 single sculls with a dominant display, throwing down a challenge from early on to defending champion Kathryn Ross, who she had never beaten before.
“It fairly went to plan: go out hard, open up a bit of water and hold [the lead] to the finish,” O’Brien said. Ross came in 10 seconds behind the Ireland sculler.
“It’s just a dream come through,” O’Brien said. “It’s every rower’s dream. I can’t put it into words, to be honest; it’s everything.”
On Saturday, O’Brien will partner Steve McGowan in the PR2 double sculls, a Paralympic event. It will be a harder challenge, and their placing will be a good indication of where they stand as they target competing at the Parlympic Games in Paris.
In the run-up to the Olympic Games in two years’ time, Ireland look to be in good shape. In addition to the pararowing race (12.05 Irish time), Saturday’s programme features three A Finals in which Ireland crews with Olympic ambitions compete: the lightweight women’s double (Aoife Casey, Margaret Cremen), the lightweight men’s double (Fintan McCarthy, Paul O’Donovan) and the women’s four (Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh, Emily Hegarty). The three races come in quick succession from 1.07 Irish time.
There are also B Finals for the women’s pair and the Ireland men’s four, which gets a chance to place well in their first senior World Championships.
Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde moved the dial up to six finals for Ireland – from 13 crews – at the championships as they qualified for the medal race in the women’s double through placing second in their semi-final. The Dutch double of Roos de Jong and Laila Youssifou were very impressive winners. The final is set for Sunday (12.54 Irish time).
On Friday, Lydia Heaphy took ninth in the lightweight single through a third-place finish in the B Final. Hugh Moore’s third in the D Final of the men’s lightweight single placed him 21st.
The Ireland lightweight double scull of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won their semi-final on a day when three other Ireland crews qualified for A Finals at the World Championships in Racice in the Czech Republic.
Switzerland took on the Irish in the lightweight double. They led through the early stages and continued to track the Olympic champions even after they fell behind. O’Donovan and McCarthy won in a faster time than recorded by the Czech Republic in the other semi-final.
The women’s four, the lightweight women’s double sculls and the PR2 mixed double all took second places in their races to qualify for their A Finals. The four came up against the all-conquering crew of the moment in Britain, winner of all their races this year. The Irish got ahead of China but could not pass Britain. The Netherlands beat Australia in the other semi-final.
Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey have announced themselves at this World Championships. The Ireland lightweight women’s double were eighth at the Olympic Games, but in their first race at Racice they beat Olympic champions Italy. That took them to the semi-final, where a top-three place would secure an A Final berth. Britain are a form crew and they won, but Casey and Cremen won a battle with Greece in the final third to take a fine second place.
The United States won the second semi in a slightly slower time. And Olympic champions Italy did not make the A Final.
The Ireland men’s four came very close to adding to the A Finals list. They held the coveted third place for much of their semi-final, only to see Switzerland come through to push them into fourth.
Katie O’Brien and Steven McGowan got the day off to a good start. The Ireland PR2 mixed double scull took hold of a place in the A Final by finishing second in the repechage. There were just two places on offer and Uzbekhistan got off to a flyer and were not to be caught. Ireland sprung out of the pack, established themselves in second by 500 metres and were comfortable qualifiers.
Lydia Heaphy will contest a B Final of the lightweight single sculls after finishing sixth in her semi-final. Iran’s Nazanin Malaei took the early lead, but Romania, the Netherlands and South Africa took the A Final places. The Ireland sculler was sixth through all four quarters.
Single scullers Alison Bergin and Brian Colsh made it through to the C Finals. Bergin won her C/D semi and Colsh was second in his. Hugh Sutton, in the lightweight single sculls, could count himself unlucky not to join them – he lost out in a photo finish to Austria for third place.
Three near misses and a fine win characterised Ireland’s performance on Day Four of the World Rowing Championships in Racice.
The win came courtesy of the Olympic champions and one of the outstanding crews at the regatta, the lightweight double of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan.
France went out fast in this quarter-final and led at 500 metres and – marginally – at the 1,000-metre mark. But by then the relentless, steady, pace of the Irish was determining the ultimate outcome. The first two quarters of one minute 34 seconds and 1:35.03 were followed by 1:35.60 … and Ireland were leading. They would ease up a little and win by a length.
The quality of the field in this big event was attested to in the first quarter-final, where Olympic bronze medallists Italy sneaked into the semi-final after taking third in a photo finish.
The figures fell the other way for Ireland’s three other quarter-finalists.
Brian Colsh has every reason to be proud of his challenge in the fiercely demanding single sculls. The Sligo Rowing Club man is just 20 years of age and making his debut at this level. He raced well to put himself in contention. Coming to the line Jordan Parry of New Zealand was set to win and Colsh was one of three scullers fighting for the second and third placing that would take them to the semi-final. Bastian Secher of Denmark took second and Poland’s Piotr Plominski, who had led early on, dug in to reserves to pass Colsh and take third by 1.76 seconds.
The men’s double came even closer. Olympic champions France won the quarter-final. Again, there was a three-boat charge for two places, and Konan Pazzaia and Phil Doyle looked well placed. This time it was the United States and Norway which took second and third. Ireland were just .03 of a second behind Norway.
Lightweight sculler Hugh Moore hoped to close up into third in his quarter-final, as Italy and Algeria crossed the line in first and second. Moore found Lazar Penev of Bulgaria was not for passing, and had to settle for fourth.
Lydia Heaphy took second in her repechage and qualified for the semi-finals of the lightweight single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Racice in the Czech Republic today.
The Ireland competitor started well and established an early lead. It looked like a four-way battle for the two qualification places, with Algeria, Australia and Greece in contention. The Greek, Zoi Fitsiou, took hold of the lead at 950 metres, but Heaphy showed staying power and the two moved away and finished first and second, clear of the rest of the field.
Ten of the 11 Ireland boats which were contending for semi-finals or quarter-finals have now achieved that aim. The new Ireland single sculler, Alison Bergin, missed out but she had to contend with 22 rivals and has performed well in one of the hardest disciplines.
The Ireland PR2 mixed double of Katie O’Brien and Steven McGowan raced well in their heat but just missed out on the A Final place which was on offer for placing first or second. Ukraine won from the Netherlands, with Ireland a close-up third. They get a second chance in the repechage, and O’Brien will also have a straight final in the PR2 single.
Irish crews, both experienced and new to this level, showed remarkable form on the second day of the World Rowing Championships in Racice in the Czech Republic. Ireland landed five more places in semi-finals; three came with the bonus of heat wins.
The lightweight women’s double began the run of firsts. Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini of Italy are the Olympic champions and were firm favourites to take the one place which meant semi-final qualification. Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey did not see it that way and raced accordingly. They hit 53 strokes a minute off the start and covered the first 500 metres in one minute 41.73 seconds. While their succeeding quarters did not match this hot pace, the Italians could not catch them. Germany finished well and relegated Italy to third. The women’s double of Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde picked up the baton with a fine win in their heat. They established their lead in the second quarter and left the other crews trailing. Austria took the second qualification place.
The Ireland women’s four found Romania a tough opponent. The two crews matched each other over the first half of the race, but Ireland nudged ahead in the third quarter and won. The Ireland crew – the Olympic bronze medallists, pictured – were the fastest heat winners, quicker than Britain and Australia.
There were two semi-final places on offer in the heat for the Ireland men’s four. Finishing second to the very good Britain crew was a seriously impressive aim for Ireland’s new crew – and they did it. Britain did have a late change of personnel, yet they showed their class in the second 1,000 metres to win. However, Ireland had matched them in the first half and then held firm to that placing as Italy, and more steadily, Ukraine, tried to oust them.
The women’s pair of Natalie Long and Tara Hanlon tucked in behind Olympic and world champions New Zealand in their heat. The first three would go to semi-finals, and Ireland left Denmark and Canada to fight it out for third – Canada came through.
The women’s single is fiercely competitive – one repechage featured Kara Kohler of the United States and Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland … and Kohler missed out on a semi-final place. She took third behind Lenka Antosova of the Czech Republic and Gmelin. Alison Bergin, learning her trade in this class, also finished third in her repechage. Spain and Serbia took the semi-final places.
Katie O’Brien raced to second in her preliminary race of the PR2 single sculls. The Ireland pararower led to 500 metres, but Kathryn Ross of Australia showed her superior power to win in a good time in the conditions.
The men’s lightweight double of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan had an impressive win in their heat. They passed early leaders Jiri Simanek and Miroslav Vrastil of the Czech Republic in the third quarter, then pulled away from them to win in the fastest time of the five heats.
The men’s double of Konan Pazzaia and Phil Doyle took second in their heat – a very satisfactory debut. As with the lightweight double this took them through to the quarter-finals, as both classes have entries of more than 24 crews.
Brian Colsh in the single sculls and Hugh Moore in the lightweight single also hit their marks.
Colsh was stepping up a level. The 20-year-old from Sligo Rowing Club who came into the event with a medal in the double from the World Under-23 Championships, acquitted himself well. He needed to finish in the top three to qualify directly for the quarter finals, and had a big player in Stefanos Ntouskous of Greece in his heat. Colsh tucked in behind him and Trevor Jones of Canada and held third right through to the finish, initially holding off Iraq and Portugal and even closing on Jones coming up to the line.
For Moore, fourth was fine – because of the huge entry, it took him to the quarter-finals. The first three places went to Switzerland, Britain and Poland, with Moore putting over 10 seconds between himself and James McCullough of the United States, who will race in the repechage.
Alison Bergin also finished fourth in her heat of the single sculls, but will compete in a repechage. This was a strong heat, with Alexandra Foester of Germany beating off the challenge of Emma Lunatti of France and Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland to take the one place in the A/B Semi-Finals. Bergin, from Fermoy Rowing Club, finished with a good sprint.
Hannah Scott of Bann Rowing Club, competing for Britain, was second in her heat to Emma Twigg of New Zealand and will also go to a repechage.
Lydia Heaphy had to win her heat to qualify directly for the A/B Semi-Finals in the lightweight single sculls, but just missed out. Nazanin Malaei of Iran set off fast, with Mexico’s Kenia Lechuga and Heaphy tracking her. As Malaei faded in the final third, the Mexican powered past with Heaphy hot on her heels. The Skibbereen woman upped the rate to 43 strokes per minute, but Lechuga held firm to win.
Denis Crowley of Commercial had a remarkable nine wins, bringing his total to 37 overall. He competed in the men’s F single sculls (60 years or older), the biggest single event. Eighteen finals were raced and, as worldrowing.com noted, he was the fastest overall.
Brendan Dolan, an Olympian in 1996, had his first win at this event.
Crowley teamed up with Brendan Smyth, Patrick Fowler and Gerry Murphy to win in a four in three separate age groups, C, D and E.
The women’s side of Irish rowing also made a mark, with Tribesmen winning in the double through Heidi Sohlberg and Deirdre Larkin.
The World Masters is a huge annual event, returning after a break due to Covid. Crews are sorted by age category and each race is a final.
Killorglin’s Monika Dukarsa led her club to four senior titles at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships in Wicklow.
Dukarska won the solo, the double (with Rhiannon O’Donoghue), the mixed double (with Patrick Boomer of Loughros Point) and was part of the Killorglin quadruple which took its fifth consecutive win. Molly Curry also represented Killorglin in this boat.
The men’s coxed quadruple was won by a combination crew of Rosscarbery, Portmagee, UCC – Ireland Olympian Ronan Byrne – University of Limerick and Muckross. The junior women’s quad went to St Michael’s of Limerick, while the junior men’s was won by a composite crew from Athlone, Sligo and Donegal clubs Loughros Point and Kincasslagh.
Competitors from outside Ireland won the men’s double and solo: the combination of Fishguard and Goodwick and Charlie Cousins from Rob Roy in Cambridge.