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Cork rowing duo win historic Olympic gold for Ireland

Cork Olympic rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy have achieved a historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, defeating the German and Italian teams in the race to the finish.

The win marks the second medal Ireland has won so far in the Tokyo games, after the Irish women’s four team won bronze.

O’Donovan had previously won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics when racing with his brother Gary.

“It feels really good,” Fintan told RTÉ after the victory.

“It is bizarre. I have been pretty chilled out all day. Usually, I would be a bit more nervous. I felt really prepared and you know how that expectation and stuff doesn’t really weigh too heavily on us. We just do what we always do as best we can and it worked.”

Though initially the team started behind Germany and Italy, by 1,500 they had overtaken both, defeating the Germans by 0.86 seconds, and Italy by 7 seconds.

“We kind of know that Italy and Germany always go hard, you can count on that,” said Paul.

“Then they slow down a bit. Once we were catching up to them, we knew that we were at a sustainable pace and kept going. Germany made it hard for us, that’s for sure.

“I don’t really think about medals at all. We are just here trying to be the best we can be and hopefully, that will be the best of them. Today it was. We are pleased with it.”

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