Heavyweights in tough B final

THE Irish heavyweight fours will be in good company in this evening’s Olympic B Rowing final at Shunyi Park, (5.50pm, local; 10.50am, Irish).

The crew of Cormac Folan, Sean Casey, Jonno Devlin and Sean O’Neill finished last in a speedy semi-final in which Great Britain, Australia and France claimed the top three spots. Ireland came home in 5.58.14, 3.37 behind Team GB. But Irish team manager Mike Heskin stressed there will be some big reputations alongside the quartet in today’s B decider.

“It is extraordinary that they will be joined by the world gold, silver and bronze medallists New Zealand, Italy and Holland. All three came here with huge expectations.

“I was talking to one of my colleagues from Italy and this is like a natural disaster for them.”

Most of the damage was done over the opening 500m with the Irish 2.40 behind the French who cleared the first quarter in 1.25.36.

“I thought they had a good surge over the first 200m,” continued Heskin. “It wasn’t a case of them dropping the speed but the others upping it.”

But he was pleased with the remainder of the race especially the final 1,000m when they recorded impressive splits of 1:31.26 and 1:28.00.

“For the rest of the race they held their own,” he said.

“There was quality all around them.

“It was a most competitive semi-final and was much faster than the other.

“We expected to get to a semi-final but we knew it was going to be really difficult with the world and the Olympic champions. We felt we were in the mix for a long while.

“The lads are devastated but we are very pleased with their performance. But we’ve got to move on and get ready for the final.”

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