Tokyo Olympics: Ireland’s long wait for Games gold ends with ‘tremendous’ victory in double sculls | World News

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by admin

Ireland’s long wait for an Olympic gold medal has finally come to an end after a thrilling lightweight double sculls victory in Tokyo.

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan won the men’s final to earn their country’s first gold since Katie Taylor’s boxing victory at London 2012.

They also became the first Irish male gold medallists since boxer Michael Carruth at 1992’s Barcelona Games.

McCarthy and O’Donovan are the country’s first male gold medallists since 1992

Rowers McCarthy and O’Donovan beat Germany by just 0.86 seconds at the Sea Forest Waterway on Thursday.


It was O’Donovan’s second Olympic medal after he won silver in the double sculls with brother Gary in Rio in 2016.

He becomes the first Irish athlete to win Olympic gold and silver medals.

“I didn’t think about too much how I felt at the time, so it’s difficult to compare it from five years after,” he said.

“Winning today and silver medal last time, I’ll be a bit happier about that. The silver medal is nice but Fintan did the right job and we went straight to the top at his first Games.

“The two boys (Germany) have been looking strong all week and made us really work hard. Italy were quick off the start and didn’t let us have it easy.”

McCarthy and O'Donovan beat Germany by just 0.86 seconds
McCarthy and O’Donovan beat Germany by just 0.86 seconds

The duo had set a new Olympic best in the semi-final of six minutes 05.33 seconds, but had to fight for gold.

Germans Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne were 10 lengths clear after 500m, but Ireland slowly closed the gap and managed to edge ahead and were a length in front before the finish line.

Their victory came a day after Ireland won their first medal of the Tokyo Olympics when Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty took bronze in the final of women’s rowing fours.


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An ecstatic Irish President Michael D Higgins tweeted: “After the magnificent success in women’s rowing yesterday, today we celebrate Ireland’s first Olympic gold medal in rowing, won so deservedly by Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy in the lightweight double sculls.

“Theirs is a tremendous achievement, which gives great inspiration to young people and aspiring athletes all over Ireland.”

Back home in Skibbereen, McCarthy’s father Tom told RTE: “It’s so overwhelming. Absolutely delighted. They’ve worked so hard and they were pushed and they delivered and it’s amazing.”

And mum Sue said: “There are no words to describe it. Pride just doesn’t cover it – it is so much more than that.

“We hoped beyond hope that they would (win). They were on form, they’ve been on form all season and it seems that no-one could touch them.

“So we just hoped that that would be the case again today and they didn’t let us down.”

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