Irish crews started the second day of the European Championships by taking the three slots in finals which the repechages offered: there was a win, a second and a third – in very different races.
First off was a thriller. The lightweight double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey, the World Championships bronze medallists in 2022, needed to make the top two in their repechage to reach the final. They barely made it. Greece led for much of the race and won, with Ireland having to sprint to the finish to hold off Italy. They had .32 of a second at the finish.
The women’s four had a bigger target: a top-four placing would send them to Saturday’s A Final. Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland slotted into those positions and finished in that order. The Irish crew of Aifric Keogh, Tara Hanlon, Fiona Murtagh and Eimear Lambe upped the rating significantly as they pushed to take second, but the Dutch took it. Spain landed fourth.
What a return to action for Siobhán McCrohan! The Galway woman, who is 35, took fourth place in a European final back in 2011 in the lightweight double, and last competed in major international competition in 2016. Today she looked bang in form as she won her repechage convincingly (above).