O'Donovan brothers pay tribute to the club that contributed to their success

O'Donovan brothers pay tribute to the club that contributed to their success

Olympic rowing heroes Gary and Paul O'Donovan have paid tribute the the rowing club that drove their Olympic dreams and said that more funding is not "the be all and end all" writes Noel Baker, in Skibbereen.

Back in Skibbereen Rowing Club for the first time since their Olympic silver medal performance in Rio, the rowers also shrugged off questions about the ticketing controversy which tainted Ireland's Olympics and also admitted that they left their medals on the kitchen table in the family home last night.

Those silver medals are now likely to make their way to their granny's cupboard, adding to an already glittering collection, while Skibbereen is now preparing to hail their heroes at a parade this evening.

The duo said that they never expected the tumultuous welcome they received at Cork Airport on Sunday night, admitting instead they were "just talking shite and being ourselves."

"People were sending us messages telling us what we we're going to be in for," Gary said, recalling a message from a friend telling him buses of people were coming up from Skibbereen. "I thought the homecoming was tonight," Paul chimed in to a chorus of laughter.

The brothers didn't dwell too long on funding matters. "The way I see it, everything we've done we are just trying to represent our club," Gary said, "we're not just fools around the place in front of cameras, we're like this every day, we come in here and we pull with the youngsters and everything we have done at the Olympics and before that is just representing what we do in here every day. We try and make it fun for the youngsters who come in and hopefully we can get more people in, it's such a great sport."

Paul said: "Like everyone in the world you need more money but you've just got to make the most of what money you have at the time and we've shown here with the facilities that we have, they're not the best in the world but they do the job as we've shown.

If you have the willpower and motivation you can get beyond the money issue, it can help but it's not the be all and end all."

Instead they paid tribute to Dominic Casey, the man overseeing their training regime, and all the other people who have helped them along the path. "It's no more than the club deserves," Gary said of the attention now being paid to the place which has driven their success.

The Olympic silver medalists also shrugged off questions relating to some of the negative aspects of the Rio Games from an Irish perspective, not least the tickets scandal which led to OCI chief Pat Hickey being detained by the Brazilian authorities. In what was surely another quip but one which might also indicate the focus of the lads on the job in hand, Gary said: "When we heard Pat Hickey got arrested it was 'who's Pat Hickey?'"

"I think Team Ireland as a whole did fantastic and this ticket thing you're talking about, I don't think it was reflected in the results whatsoever," Paul said.

As for 'podium pants', yet another donation to the Irish lexicon from the men who have given us "pull like a dog", it was explained that these are longer pants courtesy of the high performance unit, another form of motivation for people who seem like they are already crammed full of it. "We never doubted ourselves," Paul admitted.

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