Fashion shop owner Sean Murray has the measure of two of Ireland’s Olympic medal hopefuls.

The Skibbereen businessman is rowing in behind brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan as an official dresser.

The international rowers are among Ireland’s best hopes of securing Olympic gold.

Murray, on the other hand, is well known in West Cork as the man who holds the world record for opening the most bras in 60 seconds, a task performed for charity.

He measured up the brothers at the Skibbereen Rowing Club’s base on the town’s Ilen River before they departed for Rio.

The O’Donovan brothers’

tough training schedule has already made them European champions in the lightweight men’s double sculls and they are ones to watch in Rio.

Gary, 23, and Paul, 22, who grew up in Lisheen, just outside Skibbereen have been rowing with the renowned Skibbereen club for as long as they can remember.

They got their first taste of the water when they went along with their dad who was heavily involved in the club to sitting in a boat when they were aged seven and eight. With just one year separating them, the boys competed against each other through the years and it was this sibling — sometimes unfriendly — rivalry which allowed them to realise their potential as a rowing duo to be reckoned with.

It has been a rapid rise to the top for the brothers who although have been rowing for the past 15 years, only truly partnered up just 18 months ago to row in the green for Ireland.

Gary and Paul train twice a day, mainly at the National Rowing Centre in Inniscarra, with a two-hour morning session which sees them cover up to 30km when weather permits (when it doesn’t, it’s inside to the rowing machines), followed by an evening session of high-intensity race pace training followed by weights.

The brothers also have studies to attend to. Gary is a final-year marketing student at CIT while Paul has just completed his third year of physiotherapy in UCD.

Mr Murray said: “They are a real inspiration to everyone, especially the youth of Skibbereen and West Cork as they are testament that hard work pays off.”


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