There were a string of good results for Ireland at the World Cup regatta in Poznan today. All five crews in heats qualified directly for semi-finals.
Fintan McCarthy won his heat of the lightweight single sculls in a good time, while Gary O’Donovan also qualified. He needed – and produced – a sprint finish to take the crucial second place by one tenth of a second from American James McCullough.
Sanita Puspure’s return to the fray was a winning one. The 40-year-old former World Champion in the single sculls teamed up with a debutant at this level, Zoe Hyde (25), in the double to good effect. They dominated their heat, leading through all the quarters and winning by three and a half seconds. Germany and Switzerland took the other two semi-final places from this heat.
The Ireland women’s four also took second and qualified comfortably. The bulk of the race featured a stirring battle between three crews, but sense prevailed: with three crews all going through, Ireland followed the Netherlands in second, with China II third.
Margaret Cremen and Lydia Heaphy took a close-up second in their heat of the lightweight women’s double. Just two crews took automatic qualifying spots and the Netherlands set the early pace, with Ireland closest to them. But China shattered this pattern, passing both crews. As the Netherlands faded back – they would finish fourth – Ireland clung on to second.
This was encouraging. Aoife Casey had held a place in this boat, but could not trial and Heaphy has come in and done well.
Pararower Katie O’Brien won her Test race of the PR2 women’s single and teamed up with Steven McGowan to finish fourth in the Test race of the PR2 Mixed Double.
The new women’s pair of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh had finished third in their heat on Thursday evening. They get their chance to qualify for their semi-final through their repechage tomorrow (Saturday).