Ireland wins Olympic Gold for first time since 2012

Ireland wins Olympic Gold for first time since 2012

FINTAN MCCARTHY and Paul O'Donovan entered Ireland's Olympic history books after ending the nation's nine-year drought for a Gold medal.

The rowers, both from Co. Cork, pulled off a thrilling victory in the lightweight double sculls this morning, becoming the first Irish athletes since Katie Taylor in 2012 to win an Olympic event.

They also became the first male Irish Gold medallists since boxer Michael Carruth in 1992.

Though the duo were regarded as favourites going into the event, O'Donovan's Silver medal in Rio 2016 alongside his brother Gary (who is first reserve behind McCarthy) would have playing on his mind, and the pressure was very much on.

But they held their nerve, and remained half a length in front of the pursuing Germans to secure Ireland's biggest win in nearly a decade.

"I didn't think about too much how I felt at the time, so it's difficult to compare it from five years after," said O'Donovan, who became the first Irish athlete to win Olympic gold and silver medals.

"We weren't doing it so we could put medals round each other's neck - it's more the achievement in itself than the gliss and gloss that goes with it.

"Winning today and silver medal last time, I'll be a bit happier about that. The silver medal is nice but Fintan did the right job and we went straight to the top at his first Games.

"The two boys (Germany) have been looking strong all week and made us really work hard. Italy were quick off the start and didn't let us have it easy."

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Fintan Mccarthy and Paul O'Donovan of Team Ireland celebrate winning the gold medal during the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final A on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Sea Forest Waterway on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)