History was made at 01:50 as the men’s lightweight double scull pair of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won Ireland’s first Olympic gold medal in rowing
The famous Irish duo came into the finals as favourites after breaking the world record in the semi-final. The pressure did not effect them in the slightest as they lined up in Lane 3 at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Was extremely privileged to be in London in 2012 when Michael McKillop won gold. Hearing Amhran na bhFiann being played and the Irish flag raised in the Olympic Stadium is something I'll never forget.
Well done Paul & Fintan 🥇💚🇮🇪 #Ireland #Rowing pic.twitter.com/zYswC4sHFE
— Deniese O'Flaherty (@deniese_o) July 29, 2021
They faced the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Uruguay in this big race.
As the race started, Germany, known for their strong opening and Italy powered ahead. After 500m, Ireland were sitting in third almost a second and a half behind the leaders.
Before any Irish fans could start worrying, the Irish turned on their class, consistently speeding up and were only 0.66 seconds behind Germany at the halfway mark.
Germany attempted to hold their lead as the two boats jostled for top spot over a couple of hundred metres. Just before the 1500m, the Irish boys finally took the lead and they would not give it up.
Their stroke rate and strength kept increasing as they pushed through the last part of the race.
History was of officially made as O’Donovan and McCarthy crossed the finish line in a time of 6:06.43. They were followed a boat length behind by Germany and then Italy.
They took their victory with class, McCarthy clearly ecstatic and O’Donovan letting out a small smile. This seemed to be just another day at the office for the worlds best rowing partnership.
LEGENDS 🥇🥇 Absolutely nerve wracking!!! Amazing stuff @TeamIreland @skibbrowing @RowingIreland – Congratulations Paul & Fintan just breathtaking #Olympics #westcorksportsstar pic.twitter.com/NeP9HNRFaj
— Celtic Ross Hotel (@CelticRossHotel) July 29, 2021
As they were presented their flowers and medals they were clearly overjoyed and Amhran na Bhfiann was heard for the first time in Tokyo 2020.
A rare Olympic gold for Team Ireland
This is now Ireland’s tenth ever gold medal at the Olympic Games and their first in rowing. This builds on Team Ireland’s medal tally after the women’s four rowing team won a bronze medal yesterday.
Commentator George Hamilton also had the pleasure of announcing his first Irish gold medal after working at 11 Olympic Games.
O’Donovan and McCarthy have a very impressive trophy cabinet with Paul already having an Olympic silver medal with his brother from five years ago but this will now be their main prize.