It had to happen one day, and this was the day. After a brilliant A Final at the World Cup in Lucerne, Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy were pipped on the line by France and missed out on gold – indeed lost a race – for the first time since 2019. They took Ireland’s second silver of the event; lightweight sculler Siohbán McCrohan took hers on Saturday.
France’s Hugo Beurey and Ferdinand Ludwig deserve great credit. The final of the men’s lightweight double was billed as the second big battle between Ireland, featuring the return of Paul O’Donovan, and Switzerland. When they met in the semi-final Ireland had won. France had been beaten in their semi by Mexico.
In the final, Raphael Ahumada Ireland and Jan Schaeuble came to the fight and were in a three-way battle with Ireland and France through the middle. But then O’Donovan and McCarthy moved through and led at 1500 metres. It should have been game over. France thought not. They upped their rating. Ireland were not able to cover it. On the very line, on the surge, France got it.
Ireland had crews in two other finals in the morning session.
The young Ireland pair of Ross Corrigan and Nathan Timoney took sixth. They made a brilliant start and led at the 500-metre mark. Romania took over and then Britain. The battle between them was fascinating, with Britain winning gold and Romania silver. Switzerland took the bronze. In the very final stages, Spain edged Ireland into sixth .76 of a second.
The women’s pair final saw a dominant performance by Australia’s Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre. Romania did their best to challenge and took silver, while Greece beat Denmark to take bronze. Natalie Long and Tara Hanlon took sixth.
Aoife Casey – now switched into the stroke seat – and Margaret Cremen started quite well in their final of the lightweight double sculls. Britain took over in the lead as the race developed, with Greece their main challengers, but Ireland had a reasonably good third quarter and were moving up alongside Romania to challenge the Greeks. But while the Romanians moved all the way to silver medal, Casey and Cremen could not cover it. They finished fifth.
Zoe Hyde took 11th overall on her debut in the single sculls at the World Cup – a creditable result, given that 27 competed in this tough discipline. The Kerry woman started the B Final at an extraordinary rate of striking and led until the 500-metre mark. However, as the race became a battle of five of the six boats, it was Viktorija Senkute of Lithuania who came through best to take the win.