Four Ireland crews won their heats and another qualified for their semi-final by finishing second on day one of the World Cup regatta in Lucerne.
The two reigning world champions shone at either end of the morning session. Lightweight sculler Siobhán McCrohan is known for finishing speed after a slow build-up. If her main rival, Olivia Bates of Britain, expected this, she must be scratching her head. McCrohan laid down four good quarters building a lead over Bates each time and depriving her of a real shot at the one spot in the final.
Fintan McCarthy (pictured) and Paul O’Donovan in the lightweight double are masters of matching the speed to the occasion. Spain led out in the third heat and were with the Irish world and Olympic champions through much of the race. But once the men in green and white moved away in the final stages the race was over.
The semi-finals and finals, on Saturday and Sunday respectively, will be a different challenge. Switzerland posted the fastest time of the day in the first heat; Italy won the second.
The women’s double (Zoe Hyde and Alison Bergin) showed serious sprinting form in their win. They pulled out the fastest quarter of the heats (1:42.09) to pass and beat Australia. They also were the fastest crew overall.
Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh had a less stressful win in the women’s pair: they led through all 500m, 1,000m and 1500m. The United States and Chile slotted into the other semi-final spots.
John Kearney has replaced Nathan Timoney in the Ireland men’s pair. He partnered Ross Corrigan to good effect as they took second to the strong Britain crew of Oliver Wynne-Griffith and Tom George in the first heat of this discipline. The two other heats had similar winning times, suggesting that the new Ireland crew is competitive.
Two crews must go through repechages on Saturday. The lightweight women’s double threw up  two very uneven heats. Ireland’s Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen missed out direct semi-final qualification; they were unable to match Britain and New Zealand in by far the faster of the two heats (winning times of 6 minutes 57.84 seconds compared to 7:05.31). The two crews which qualified in the second heat, the United States and Canada, would have been third and fourth in the first.
In the absence of Philip Doyle (injured) and Daire Lynch, an under-23 crew, represented Ireland in the men’s double. Andrew Sheehan and Brian Colsh finished fourth in their heat.

 Katie O’Brien was also unavailable, ruled out through injury, and the PR2 mixed double did not compete.   

  O’Brien’s usual partner in the double, Steve McGowan,  and debutant Tiarnan O’Donnell were entered in the PR2 men’s single sculls. O’Donnell showed well in the preliminary race. The push to the line was hectic, and he finished fourth, just ahead of McGowan.

 The final is scheduled for 11.15 (Irish time) on Saturday.