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World of Sport

29th Jul 2021

“Ah I suppose it’s fine” – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy are Olympic gold medallists

Niall McIntyre

There’ll be no sleeping after that one.

Paul O’Donovan and his double-sculls partner Fintan McCarthy have won the Olympic Gold medal after another brilliant row on the Tokyo water. Expectations were high heading into the final, and the men from Skibbereen didn’t disappoint, clawing back the German pace-setters before powering to victory in the final 500m of the race.

It was a typically measured performance from Ireland’s dynamic pair of rowers who remained patient, even when behind in the early stages, before striking for gold without ever looking back. If the performance was typical, the post-race interview with Claire McNamara could have been trademarked as Paul O’Donovan summed the whole thing up by saying “ah it’s fine I suppose,” not long after he and his partner became Ireland’s first Olympic Gold medallists in nine years.

The most important thing of all is that inside cool exterior, inside the laid-back demeanour there are two ferocious competitors, two relentless perfectionists who on this night in July have sealed their place in Irish sporting history. It all came down to this one, powerful row but in reality and as the rowers themselves keep telling us, this success is down to years and years of dedication. They got their rewards tonight.

“It’s another chapter of brilliance in the story of these men from West Cork. History has been made in the water in Tokyo,” said George Hamilton on commentary.

It seemed as if the enormity of that achievement hit home a couple of minutes later when, with Amhrán na bhFiann playing over the Tokyo tannoys, even the calm and collected O’Donovan was shook by the whole thing, his hand on his heart and a tear on his cheek.

You can watch their gold medal interview via RTÉ here and as George Hamilton on the commentary says, don’t be afraid to drink that one in.