World champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy fastest in qualifying in Euros

The pair reached the European Championship semi-final as four Irish boats reached finals on day one
World champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy fastest in qualifying in Euros

Paul O’Donovan, right, and Fintan McCarthy of Ireland competing in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls heat event during day one of the 2021 European Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy. Picture: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

World champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy had the quickest time across all the heats as they qualified for the A/B semi-finals of the European Rowing Championships in Italy.

In all, four Irish crews qualified for 'A' finals on day one in Varese while O'Donovan and McCarthy were one of three Irish boats to reach an A/B semi-final.

The Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished second in their heat, beating boats from Czech Republic and Denmark as the Romanian boat took first place. Dukarska and Crowley's effort means they join the Romanians in Sunday's final.

Lydia Heaphy won her heat in the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull Heat where she will also compete in a Sunday final.

After an excellent performance against strong crews. Heaphy beat out crews from Romania, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Italy to cross the line in first place.

Gary O’Donovan (Lightweight Men’s Single Scull) and the Women’s Four of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, who were the quickest in qualifying will also have a rest day Saturday before a European final on Sunday.

Paul O’Donovan and McCarthy, the Men’s Double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne and the Lightweight Women’s Double of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen are all in action on Saturday in semi-finals as Ireland look to leave Italy with medals.

Paul and Fintan won their heat with a dominant performance ahead of the crews from Ukraine, Spain and Estonia.

Daire Lynch finished fifth in the Men’s Single Scull Heat before racing later in the Repechage round. Daire finished fourth after competing with boats from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belarus and Moldova, finishing with a time of 07:19.01 and will race in Saturday’s C/D Semi-Final.

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