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.