30 May 2017
University College Dublin student Paul O’Donovan and his brother Gary recovered from a slow start to clinch silver medals at the European Rowing Championships in the lightweight men’s double sculls final, after storming past several teams in a breathless photo finish.
The O’Donovan brothers made an uncharacteristically slow start in the final of the European Championships, finding themselves in fifth position at the halfway stage of the race.
Heading into the final 500m however, the Skibbereen pair made their move. Overcoming tough resistance from the Polish and Italian teams, the O’Donnavan brothers squeezed into second place in the most dramatic of circumstances to secure silver. Only half a second separated Paul & Gary in second place from the Polish team in fourth.
The O’Donovan’s were reigning European Champions coming into the event, having won gold in the final last year. There was to be no repeat performance this time around though as their late surge wasn’t enough to overhaul the same French team of Pierre-Houin and Jeremie Azou who had also beaten the brothers to Olympic Gold in Rio back in 2016.
Paul and Gary’s silver topped off an historic day for the Irish team at the championships, with Denise Walsh also securing silver in the women's lightweight single sculls and Skibbereen club mates Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll securing lightweight gold.