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McCarthy and O'Donovan strike...
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McCarthy and O'Donovan strike gold for Ireland

Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy ensured gold success for Ireland at the European Rowing Championships in Varese today.

The duo combined to take first in the lightweight men's double sculls in the Italian city, holding off the challenge of Germany.

They came home in a time of 6.18.14, almost two seconds faster than Germany, with Italy also making the podium.

The Women's Four crew also enjoyed medal success.

Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh came up narrowly short of clinching gold.

They ended as silver medallists after a closely-fought race with the Netherlands.

The Irish four finished just 0.45 seconds behind the winners.

Gary O'Donovan - brother of Paul - narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the lightweight men's single sculls.

He finished in fourth position, in a time of 7.05.82, two seconds off Poland in third.

After a promising start, the women's pair duo of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished in sixth position in their final.

They had been in the medal positions after the early stages but ended up 9 seconds behind winners Great Britain.

Lydia Heaphy also had a sixth-placed finish in the final of the lightweight women's single sculls.

The lightweight women's double sculls pairing of Aoife Casey and Margaret Creman secured a fifth-placed finish in a time of 7.07.42.

Earlier in the morning, Ireland's Ronan Byrne and Phil Doyle won the B final of the double sculls.

Daire Lynch had a second-placed finish in the C final of the single scull.

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