ROWING Lightweight Four Win World Championship Bronze

Sunday 27th August 2006


The fantastic lightweight men’s four (LM4-) of Gearoid Towey, Eugene Coakley, Richard Archibald and Paul Griffin have won a brilliant bronze medal at the Rowing World Championships in Eton today. China won gold in 5.49.43, with France a second and a half down, snatching silver from the Irish four on the line by a sheer nine hundredths of a second.

Afterwards a beaming Gearoid Towey said: “That was a really tough race; we went for it though right from the start; we needed to, to be in with a chance. We’re delighted to win the medal; it’s a brilliant way to top off an amazing season for us.”

“Two world championships; two medals; that’s not easily done; it’s a record we’re very proud of and we’re right on track for Beijing which is the most important thing; that’s what it’s all about”, stated Irish stroke man Paul Griffin.

In an epic battle the eventual medallists drew clear from the remainder of the field upon reaching the 500metre mark, and at that point the Irish four were leading by the just 0.3 of a second.

All three crews couldn’t be separated at the 750 metre point but at the halfway point the Chinese four pushed on and stole the lead. Entering the enclosure the deafening roars from the huge Irish travelling support inspired the Irish crew to up their rate in an attempt to catch the Chinese, but as the line approached defending world champions France came charging through the middle to snatch silver.

Ireland’s Eugene Coakley spoke of the four’s appreciation of the support; “I’ve never heard a crowd like it, we couldn’t believe it, we’ve never had that before, it really helped us in fact. It meant so much to do it in front of them.”

An additional benefit of this superb success for the four is a 25% medal bonus of €7,500 each under the Irish Sports Council’s International Carding Scheme.

This hugely successful Irish team arrive back into Dublin Airport tomorrow afternoon (Monday August 28th) at 1.25pm.

Earlier on the lightweight women’s double (LW2x) of Donegal’s Sinéad Jennings and Offaly’s Niamh Ni Cheilleachair repeated the feat of their male team mates by impressively winning their B final this morning and finishing 7th overall.

The pairing were determined to perform to their best after the disappointment of missing out on the A final. As with the men's four, seventh at next year's world championships would crucially secure Olympic qualification for this crew.

 “We knew we had to go with them today; the conditions are very fast out there”, said medical student Jennings after the race. “Our plan was to stay in touch in the first 500 metres, lay down a mark from there and start pushing through; that’s our strength. We wanted to stick with what we’re good at and the middle 1000metres is where we really grind it out.”

Jennings and NiCheilleachair's start was much improved on the semi-final and they took up the lead at halfway in what was a particularly strong field. They were never headed from that point, and comfortably led the charge to the line, significantly ahead of Poland, USA and Germany; crews which were fourth, second and first respectively in last year's world championship final.

The duo singled out the massive traveling Irish support as having a particularly positive influence on their performance today; “Ireland took us home; the crowd. We couldn’t lose at that stage when we heard them shouting for us”, remarked Jennings with a broad smile.

Issued on behalf of the Irish Amateur Rowing Union by the Irish Sports Council

For Further Information
Sinéad McElroy (Irish Sports Council), Irish team press officer in Eton

Further Irish Quotes:
LW2x Niamh NiCheilleachair: “It’s not going to be that hard to face the winter now after this. A lot of the hard work done in the winter is on our own, it’s long, there’s a lot of repetition. It’s definitely not going to be that hard to face it now though.”

Sinéad Jennings:“We both bring a lot of different strengths to the boat, we’re both very different people. We’ve learned so much from eachother. I think we can go back into our winter training now and work on these things that we’ve learned from eachother, and that’s really going to make us gel even better next year.”
Note to Editors:
Sportsfile will be distributing race pictures from Eton free of charge. 01-4547400 or

Additional Information

Irish Team Results
LM2x Richard Coakley, Tim Harnedy, 21st overall
M1x Sean Jacob, 13th overall
W1x Caroline Ryan, Withdrew on medical grounds
M4- Cormac Folan, Sean O’Neill, Sean Casey, Alan Martin won B final, 7th overall
LW2x Sinéad Jennings, Niamh NiCheilleachair won B final, 7th overall
LM4- Gearoid Towey, Eugene Coakley, Richard Archibald & Paul Griffin, BRONZE MEDAL