January 29, 2018
Irish Down Under
An Irish contingent made up of the brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan and the world champion lightweight pair of Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan have been training and racing in New Zealand since the start of the year.
For the four of them it has been a chance to trade gloomy winter training in their hometown of Skibbereen for southern hemisphere summer sun and high-level racing at the peak of the New Zealand sprint racing season.
It has also been O’Driscoll and O’Donovan’s first opportunity to race in the heavyweight pair’s category. The duo are current world champions in the lightweight event, but have said that they are hoping to qualify for the heavyweight event in Tokyo due to there being no Olympic lightweight pair’s event offered.
Racing at the North Island Championships, which concluded today, O’Driscoll and O’Donovan finished fourth in their heat and then failed to progress to the final after finishing fourth in Sunday’s repechage.
The Olympic silver medal winning lightweight O’Donovan brothers doubled up to race in both the heavyweight singles event and the heavyweight double.
In a world class singles final, featuring both Robbie Manson and Mahe Drysdale, Paul finished sixth out of eight, one second behind fifth placed Drysdale. Gary finished third in the B-Final.
In their equally world class doubles final, featuring the current heavyweight doubles world champions Harris and Storey, the O’Donovan’s finished sixth today.
Next the four Irish rowers intend to compete at the New Zealand National Championships on Lake Karipiro which runs from February 13th to 17th.