The Ireland lightweight double sprints for the line and wins a thriller. This time it was the crew of Rory O’Neill and Ciarán Purdy at the World Under-23 Championships in Plovdiv in Bulgaria.
The aim was the top two and a semi-final place. Italy led Ireland early on, but coming up to 1400 metres Purdy – a silver medallist in this event and this boat last year – and O’Neill caught and passed the Italians. From there it could have been straightforward, but China complicated matters with a tremendous late sprint; Ireland and Italy held their qualification spots … just.
Ireland’s day had also started with a heat win. Brian Colsh and Konan Pazzaia (pictured on their run to bronze in this event last year), won the first heat of the men’s double sculls. Poland led to 500 metres, but by 900, Ireland had passed them. Poland, under pressure from Uruguay, came back at the end to take the second place on offer in the semi-finals.

Alison Bergin put in a good sprint at the finish of her heat of the single sculls, but she could not catch Aurelia-Maxima Katharina Janzen. The Swiss controlled the race from the start and took the one automatic qualification spot for the semi-final.

Andrew Sheehan took no chances in his repechage of the single sculls. On Wednesday, Sheehan had lost out for the single qualification spot in his heat to Italy’s Leonardo Tedoldi. Today, he took over in the lead early and won. Sheehan  was tracked by Turkey, who closed at the finish, but held on to his number-one spot.