Siobhán McCrohan (above) won gold and pararower Tiarnan O’Donnell silver to top off another successful day for Ireland at the World Cup regatta in Lucerne.
The most dramatic race was one which Ireland did not win. In the semi-final of the lightweight double, Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy tracked Raphael Ahumada Ireland and Jan Schaeuble of Switzerland down the course. When the world and Olympic champions launched their attacks in the final third, the Swiss matched them. Ireland finished second, and these two crews, along with Italy – who won the second semi-final – will race each other in a highly promising final on Sunday.
The finals for the women’s pair and double will also be worth watching. Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh were the best crew in their semi-final, but their win was just a stepping stone on the way to take on the Netherlands and Australia, who finished first and second in the other semi.
Zoe Hyde and Alison Bergin also go into their double sculls final on the back of a good win. Norway provided stern opposition, but Hyde and Bergin punched through.
Come tomorrow’s final, the lightweight women’s double will also benefit by the confidence boost of their win today. Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen overcame China in the repechage.
Ireland’s other A Finalists on Sunday will be the men’s pair. Ross Corrigan and John Kearney grabbed the third and final spot in their semi-final. The under-23 men’s crew of Brian Colsh and Andrew Sheehan took fifth in their doubles semi-final and are set for a B Final.
McCrohan can sit and watch it all from a good place as a competitor. The Ireland lightweight single sculler thanked the speed work she has done for bringing her along. Her new race plan, which features a fast start, left her rivals with nothing to get hold of. Sophia Luwis of the United States and Britain’s Olivia Bates took silver and bronze – and were limited to a fight for those medals by the excellence of the reigning world champion.
O’Donnell can also celebrate his medal. The PR2 sculler was making his debut at this level, and it was a highly satisfactory one. Steven McGowan took fourth.