Rio 2016 Diary: Witnessing history as Ireland claim rowing glory

Richie McCormack is our man on the ground in Rio...

rowing, Ireland, Rio 2016,

Image; ©INPHO/James Crombie

More rain! Christ, it's genuinely like being at home. At least I sorted the banshee in the window problem. A check with the rowing people who'd know says that action will go ahead at Lagoa - there's medals to be won!

Whether it's the rain, or the millionth bus journey with zero leg-room (boo-hoo), my optimism from the previous day's semi finals has whittled away en route to the lake complex. Maybe it's an Irish thing, maybe it's the disappointments of the brilliant Sanita Puspure leaving a mark. But for some reason this feels like it's going to end in disappointment.

It's teeming down still when we arrive. I turn a quick, hopeful report into the 2pm news and then head outside and hope for the best for Lynch and Lambe. The early going of the race is tough for them. The top four cut them adrift, and a medal looks unlikely from early on.

And so it transpires. But a quick sixth, and speaking to them afterwards, they are delighted with how they've performed this week. The element of a team sport shines from both of them. Claire, the younger and Sinead, the wise head. They again give props to Puspure, so unlucky to have missed out on a semi final. Even before they arrive down to us, they whoop and cheer and shout congratulations out to the water to the O'Donovan boys.

They've won silver!! Us hacks were all crowded around a TV near the finish line. From about halfway the murmurs get louder - "this is on here, lads!". There are none-more-deserving medal winners. They lit this place up when the clouds, and the disappointments elsewhere had other ideas.

We press them for a few words afterwards, but they are shattered. The effort to get to this achievement, and the history of it in itself seemingly dawning on the two Skib lads. What a race. What a week. The inevitable chasing of more quotes continues, with Gary taking over the press conference. "Where's Paul?", someone asks. "Dunno, left him on the boat", comes back the West Cork retort. These boys are magic.

After a long morning there, I begin to make my way out, while still seeking some tricolours for quotes. I spot a pair of older gents sat at a picnic table by the quieter meal area.

"Are ye fans lads, or family, or..."


"No way"

"Yeah, Teddy is my name, and this is my brother - their uncle"

"Congratulations, do you mind if I grab a few words"

"No, gwan ahead sure"

The next 12 minutes are likely to be my favourite of these games, chatting with the man responsible for all of this today. Getting them on this Earth first of all, and then a few years later letting them get into a boat. Teddy's pride, and warmth and generosity are beaming off of him. A special family this one.

Jonathan Healy wants a word, so via the wonders of Skype I chat to him while aboard a bus that's snaking along a cliff-face. And then back to the Media Centre for a natter with Ger, and further reflection on this day. I can't help but well-up listening into Niall O'Toole's emotional response to this historic day for the sport of rowing in Ireland.

The hockey is the next port of call. Hoping the enthusiasm and renewed positivity (probably all Shane Ross' doing) rubs off in Deodoro.

Alas, not to be. Undone by concession of short corners again, A 3-2 defeat to Argentina and our quarter final hopes are dashed. But enormous pride should be taken from this campaign. David Harte and Chris Cargo offer us their time and some words in defeat. So too, Craig Fulton the head coach, whose wisdom and vision needs to be kept locked down in Irish sport. He's a smart smart cat, and can take this team to a first World Cup in 28-years in 2018. If given the resources.

The bus journey back with Niall Kelly of the 42 is a fun one. If only because we're stopped by the military twice in 2-minutes. One of their trucks, laden with 6-camouflage dressed members, each with huge guns serve as an escort up a deserted stretch of motorway.

"Why would they be doing that?"

"Aw, this is the stretch where that bus was supposedly shot at the other day"