The Irish rowing team have claimed two medals at the 2018 international competitive season opener, World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia this morning with two of the three remaining crews also finishing among the top 10 boats in their respective categories.
Forecasted thunderstorms in Belgrade meant some late changes to the day’s racing schedule and all A Finals, i.e. medal races, were brought forward and raced closer together. First to race for Ireland was the well-known Skibbereen duo, Gary and Paul O’ Donovan in the lightweight men’s double sculls A Final, which was an extremely tight contest throughout, much like the previous day’s racing. The O’ Donovan’s had narrowly produced the fastest time of the day in yesterday’s semi-finals, and again today the top three boats all crossed the line within 1.06 seconds of each other. Poland took Gold, while just 0.01 of a second separated Belgium and Ireland who took Silver and Bronze respectively in a photo finish.
Ireland’s second A-Finalist, Sanita Puspure, was next to race in the women’s single sculls and faced tough competition, including current World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland, as well as 2017 European Champion, Victoria Thornley of Great Britain and 2016 European Champion, Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Puspure was not the fastest sculler off the start, but steadily progressed up through the field overtaking Thornley, Thiele of Germany, and eventually Lobnig in an impressive sprint in the final 500 metres which earned her the Silver medal, just less than three seconds behind World Champion Gmelin.
Quoted on the World Rowing website following the race, Puspure said, “I’m very happy with the result, all the women are great out there and could have all got a medal.”
As the morning’s medals were presented, the B Finals got underway in which Ireland had three crews yet to race; both the women’s double scull of Kerry’s Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley, and the women’s pair of Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty finished third in their finals, placing both crews in 9th position overall at the end of the first World Cup event. Finally, the lightweight women’s double of Denise Walsh and Margaret Cremen were 6th in the B Final and finish 12th overall as a result.
World Cup I Regatta, Belgrade Sunday 3rd June 2018 (Irish results):
Women’s single sculls – A Final: 1. SUI (J Gmelin) 7:22.78, 2. IRL (S Puspure) 7:25.30, 3. AUT (M Lobnig) 7:25.51, 4. GER1 (A Thiele) 7:27.78, 5. GBR (V Thornley) 7:27.93, 6. DEN (F Erichsen) 7:31.96
Women’s double sculls – B Final: 1. SUI 6:58.77, 2. FRA 6:58.86, 3. IRL 7:03.79, 4. HUN 7:13.84, 5. KOR 7:17.76
Women’s lightweight double sculls – B Final: 1. CAN 6:55.88, 2. GER 6:56.63, 3. POL 6:59.17, 4. USA2 7:00.49, 5. CHN1 7:00.98, 6. IRL 7:07.77
Women’s pair – B Final: 1. POL 7:14.30, 2. CHN3 7:15.98, 3. IRL 7:16.37, 4. CHN1 7:18.49, 5. SRB 7:21.74, 6. CHN2 7:30.12
Lightweight men’s double sculls – A Final: 1. POL 6:13.04, 2. BEL 6:14.09, 3. IRL 6:14.10, 4. CAN2 6:17.27, 5. AUT 6:17.32, 6. SUI1 6:23.87
Fermanagh pulled off the shock of the day to book their place in the final of the Ulster Football Championship.
The Erne County – who hadn’t qualified for a provincial decider since 2008 – trailed Monaghan by 2 points as the game went into injury time.
Eoin Donnelly was on hand to put the ball into the back of the net as Fermanagh held on for a 1 point win which sets up a decider with either Donegal or Down.
Galway enjoyed a comfortable 21 point win over Sligo to set up a Connacht Football Final clash with Roscommon.
In hurling, Tipperary once again pulled off a big comeback to claim another point in the Munster Championship.
The Premier County trailed Waterford by 6 points at half time, and played the entire second half with 14 men following Michael Cahill’s dismissal before the break.
2 second half goals pulled Tipp back into the game, however Monaghan players felt the latter goal didn’t actually cross the line.
With a point between the sides late in to injury time – Tipperarys Jason Forde levelled the game up with a free as it finished 2-22 apiece.
Offaly will play no part in next years Leinster Championship.
The Faithful County were relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup after being beaten by Dublin 2-24 to 0-13.
Paul Ryan and Fergal Whitely scored a goal each for the Dubs.
French Open second seed Alexander Zverev’s into a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time.
The 21-year-old German’s third in the world rankings despite never going beyond the fourth round at a Major before.
He beat Karen Khachanov in five sets at Roland Garros and will now face Dominic Thiem.
This evening, 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic will try to join him in the last eight when he plays Fernando Verdasco.
Thorbjorn Olesen claimed his 5th victory on the European Tour today – winning the Italian Open on a score of 22 under par.
Francesco Molinari followed up his win at Wentworth last week with a second place finish.
Graeme McDowell was best of the Irish – he took a share of 5th after completing the tournament on 17 under par.
Paul Dunne and Padraig Harrington each carded closing rounds of 68 to finish on 11 and 10 under par respectively.
Belgium face an anxious wait to see if their captain will be fit for the tournament.
Vincent Kompany injured his groin in last night’s international against Portugal.
He’s having a scan today but the true outcome won’t be known for 48 hours.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez names his final 23 man squad tomorrow.
At the Under-20 World Championship, Ireland are still without a win at this years tournament.
The boys in green followed up their opening day defeat to France with a 30 – 17 loss against South Africa this evening.
At the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Ireland have been beaten convincingly in the semi finals of the tournament.
Fiji showed their class as they prevailed on a scoreline of 38 – 12.
The boys in green qualified for their first ever cup semi final by beating the USA 22-12 earlier.
They’ll play England in the Bronze Medal Final at 5.32pm.
Kilbeggan racecourse manager Paddy Dunican has described himself as “devastated” after having to cancel today’s meeting due to doubts about whether the track would have water or not.
There have been ongoing water shortages in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, for a number of weeks, but the water pressure was strong in the local area on Saturday evening.
However, another burst pipe on Sunday morning, this time in the village of Dysart, just over ten kilometres from the course, led to serious doubts about whether there would be enough water available at the track, and the decision was taken to cancel the meeting on welfare grounds.
Dunican explained: “We were afraid to go ahead with the meeting for obvious reasons. The council tested our water last night and we had proper pressure after all of the leaks recently, but then suddenly there was another burst water mains in Dysart this morning. They repaired that, but then there was another burst pipe somewhere. We didn’t know if we were going to have water or not today.
“The burst pipe is a long way away from us, but by the time the reservoir fills, and by the time the water gets to us, it was highly unlikely we’d have had water by 2pm.”
He added: “Not only that, but they have to find where that new burst pipe is. It’s all very frustrating and I’m devastated.
“When you haven’t got water you’re putting horses’ welfare and everybody’s welfare at risk. We could have waited longer but we appreciate there are people driving long distances and we wanted to make the decision as soon as we could.”
Westmeath’s only track, Kilbeggan usually attracts big crowds when the weather is as fine as it is, and given Sunday’s meeting had been billed as family fun day its cancellation was an especially bitter pill to swallow.
Dunican said: “A lot of work had gone into the marketing of this afternoon’s meeting and we’d a lot of people booked in for hospitality. It was due to be one of our most popular meetings of the year. It’s devastating.”