Cork Duo Wins Gold for Ireland

Skibbereen rowers Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy have won gold for Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics.

The pair came first in the men's lightweight double sculls final early Thursday morning Irish time.

The first half of the race had been led by the German team, but O'Donovan and McCarthy managed a surge in the second half to pip them to first place.

"The Germans and Italians always have a quick start, so for the first time we had a quick start as well, not for lack of effort," said O'Donovan. "It was a bit of a surprise that it paid off and we weren’t totally dropped in the first 500m, so that was good. And then we put the heads down and ploughed on so it was good."

"It feels pretty good," said McCarthy on winning gold. "We can’t complain! We had a really good race – but a tough one. The Germans were flying so it was hard. I was really excited when we first crossed the line and there was a bit of relief as well. We have had a good time all week, so we are a bit sad that it is all over. We hadn’t had too much time to think about it but it feels pretty good and hopefully it will be that way for a while."

On Twitter, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the win was "A special day for Irish rowing and the Irish people."

President Michael D Higgins also took to twitter to congratulate the pair.

"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," wrote the president.

The win comes a day after another Skibbereen rower, Emily Hegarty, earned a bronze medal as part of a four-woman team.

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