‘There’ll be steak and spuds tonight’ at home of the O’Donovan’s grandmother

The grandmother of Ireland’s Olympic medal winning brothers has said she’s “terribly happy for them because I know what they put into it”, writes Stephen Barry.

Mary Doab has witnessed the daily effort that Gary and Paul O’Donovan invest in their rowing training as they are regular visitors at her house in Ballincollig, near the National Rowing Centre.

The O’Donovans often call in after their morning training session for a nap and some food, before returning to Inniscarra Lake for an evening workout.

“It means the world to them, just to think they’re good at what they do,” said their maternal grandmother.

“They love that sport, they won’t want any credit for it. They’re plain down-to-earth lads.

Pics by Larry Cummins
Pics by Larry Cummins

“I’m delighted. Even if they came fourth or fifth at least they got there and that’s what they’ve dreamed of all their lives. They got there and that’s very important, but they always hope to win.

“They’re both brilliant kids. Even in their exams, they don’t want Bs and Cs. They mightn’t get them (As), but this is what they aim for.”

Speaking before the Olympics, the O’Donovans talked about how their nana “takes really good care of us”, between making soup during winter, a daily loaf of brown cake or a roast leg of lamb on a Sunday.

Michael Doab, their uncle, said that his mother is “a major cog in that wheel”, although she modestly refused to take any credit.

“They do their own shopping and they do their own cooking. They’re brilliant cooks, and they wash up and they tidy up for me. They’re a great help to me actually.”

‘There’ll be steak and spuds tonight’ at home of the O’Donovan’s grandmother

She added that while they’re delighted to win a silver medal, falling just short of the French crew will be “killing them”.

That’s something which Michael Doab concurs with.

“The boys are genuinely disappointed that they didn’t get gold, because they went for gold. They were telling us before they went, they were going for gold.

“They’re delighted to get the silver, absolutely thrilled, but they were going for gold.”

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