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Amazing Ireland's Olympic champion rowers say their gold medal victory is a 'dream come true'

'When you're younger you'd be kind of daydreaming about it, so to be here is just unreal'

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Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan celebrate victory in the lightweight men’s double sculls (Danny Lawson/PA)

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan celebrate victory in the lightweight men’s double sculls (Danny Lawson/PA)

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan celebrate victory in the lightweight men’s double sculls (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ireland's Olympic champion rowers Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy have described their gold medal victory as "dream come true stuff". 

The Skibbereen duo scored victory when they crossed the finish line first in the men's lightweight double sculls in Tokyo.

They spent last night packing their suitcases, rather than celebrating, they added.

Paul O'Donovan told Newstalk Breakfast that the fact they were favourites "didn't put any pressure" on them during the race.

“I don’t understand why people think if you’re good it makes it harder to win,” he said.

“Because you’re the favourite, you should be confident like… then the pressure is on your opponents.

“We were pretty pleased without start, and that’s usually the worst of our race. We’ve done so many races over the year… we would be good at judging our own efforts and how much energy we have left.

“We were sitting there level with the Germans, and I think we would have known ourselves if we need to we have a bit more in reserve to put in a big dig at the finish.


“We know the German style - they like to lead from the front. This past year they’ve been making a big burst in the third 500 metres.

"When they weren’t really putting massive distance into us at this stage, we kinda knew they wouldn’t have too much left to give at the end."

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Fintan described the Olympic experience as "amazing", adding that winning the medal was the cherry on top.

"When you're younger you'd be kind of daydreaming about it, so to be here is just unreal.”

Fintan’s mum Sue has spoken about how delighted the whole family is after her son’s stunning overnight win in the men's double sculls rowing final.

Described by President Michael D Higgins as a "tremendous achievement", Sue, speaking from West Cork, said they were “absolutely over the moon”.

“We’re delighted for the pair of them,” she said. “We watched it (at home). The whole family came down and we all watched it together. It’s an incredible achievement, he put in the work and it showed last night.

“He has been rowing since he was 15 so he came quite late into it really but it was a sport that once he realised that he had some kind of talent for it he just went for it.

“(But) it's a dedication and that's for sure,” she added. “The hard work, the early mornings up and down the river, I mean, it's brutal, it certainly is. He put in a lot of work to get there that's for sure.

She said they'll now do "whatever we can" to give Fintan and his rowing mate Paul O'Donovan the homecoming they deserve.

“I can’t wait for him to come home now - I'm really looking forward to it,” she added.

"We’ve missed him - he has been away for quite a while now with training camps and the two weeks in Tokyo.”

Sue said they will do “whatever we can to make their homecoming one that they deserve”.

Fintan said: “Definitely in our house there’ll be a few celebratory dinners, drinks and all that stuff. I’d say they’re buzzing."

Last night boxer Aidan Walsh added to Team Ireland's medal haul after he secured at least a bronze as he moves into the semi-finals this weekend.


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