TRIBUTES have been pouring in for rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan after the duo secured Ireland's first Olympic Gold medals since London 2012.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, President Michael D Higgins and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar were among those who took to social media this morning to praise Ireland's newest Olympic heroes.
McCarthy and O'Donovan ended Ireland's nine-year Gold medal drought with victory in the lightweight double sculls this morning.
President Higgins was first to offer his congratulations.
"After the magnificent success in women's rowing yesterday, today we celebrate Ireland's first Olympic gold medal in rowing, won so deservedly by Paul O'Donovan and Fintant McCarthy in the lightweight double sculls," Higgins said via his Twitter account.
"Theirs is a tremendous achievement, which gives great inspiration to young people and aspiring athletes all over Ireland."
“Theirs is a tremendous achievement, which gives great inspiration to young people and aspiring athletes all over Ireland.”
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) July 29, 2021
"An outstanding gold medal for Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. Breathtaking victory in the lightweight double sculls - a race that will live long in history. A special day for Irish rowing and the Irish people," Martin tweeted.
An outstanding gold medal for Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy.
Breathtaking victory in the lightweight double sculls - a race that will live long in history.
A special day for Irish rowing and the Irish people. #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/hzhnFL8SCI
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 29, 2021
"Gold!!! What an outstanding result for Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan. World champions and now Olympic Gold!" Wrote Tánaiste Varadkar.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) July 29, 2021
While Katie Taylor won Ireland's last Olympic Gold in London nine years ago, McCarthy and O'Donovan 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 Olympic victory in nearly a decade.
A mighty bit of rowing by Paul and Fintan to get Ireland’s first gold!
— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) July 29, 2021
“One more chapter of magnificence from the men from county Cork”
It’s #gold for Ireland for Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. A moment in time.@TeamIreland #OlympicGames #Tokyo2020
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) July 29, 2021