"I went up to the Italians and gave them a big auld shoulder" - Paul O'Donovan does it again 1 month ago

"I went up to the Italians and gave them a big auld shoulder" - Paul O'Donovan does it again

The man is a stand-up comedian.

There's no doubt about it.

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Paul O'Donovan was talking about exams - medical exams - after a gold medal win at the European Championships in Munich but the Skibbereen native needn't worry. He can be a doctor if he likes but, in another world, and at the drop of a hat, he could just become a stand-up comedian if the mood took him.

Because he'd be well able for it.

O'Donovan and his partner-in-crime Fintan McCarthy had just won the lightweight double sculls - again - when they decided to have a bit of craic, as per usual, in their post-race interview. Former 400m athlete David Gillick was on the job for RTE and all he had to do was tee the boys up, and let them off.

O'Donovan never disappoints.

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"We don't change much really," he began, when asked about their tactics for the race.

"There's no point worrying what the others do really. I went up to the Italians and gave them a big auld shoulder as they were launching the boat.

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"It kind of shook them and they knew what was going to come then like down the middle of the track. Fortunately, then Fintan was able to step up and deliver that then to them, the final blow, as they'd call it," he said with a laugh.

Self-deprecation, as we all know, is like second nature for the 28-year-old and he played himself down in typical fashion here.

"That's all Fintan really. I've been very slow all year, and Fintan's stepped up and he's rowing really well, really smooth. He has it all like, and he's dragging me along.

"That's a question at the minute," he added, when asked if his studies will rule him out of the upcoming world championships.

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"I have to go back to school next week and maybe many people don't realise but I suppose most people have realised... I'm a bit stupid!"

The UCC student was on a roll at this stage.

"I need all the time studying I can get so that I don't fail everything and have an absolute disaster. The World Championships may be in question at the minute for myself anyway, be alright, we'll see."

"We can't row forever!

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Back to the rowing, it was the same old story as O'Donovan and McCarthy sat back in the early stages of the race before kicking viciously for home in the final half kilometre. The Swiss pair of Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ireland had led early on, with Italy's duo not too far behind, but they had no answers for O'Donovan and McCarthy at the business end.

Maybe that shoulder scared them off.