Skibbereen duo win European Championship of a diet of "bread, water and jam"

Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll were speaking to Moncrieff after Sunday's win

BY Daniel Kelly 14:20 Monday 29 May 2017, 14:20 29 May 2017

Dominic Casey (Coach), Paul O'Donovan, Gary O'Donovan (Silver Medals - Lightweight Men's Double Sculls) Mark O'Donovan, Shane O'Driscoll (Gold Medals -Lightweight Pair) and Denise Walsh (Silver Medal - Lightweight Women's Single Sculls). Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Mummycooks

Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll have returned to Cork as European Champions after winning gold in the Lightweight Pairs race at the European Rowing Championships in Czech Republic.

The gold medal capped an amazing Championships for Skibbereen Rowing Club with five members bringing home medals for Ireland. Olympic silver medallists Paul and Gary O'Donovan won silver in the Lightweight Double Sculls, while Denise Walsh won silver in the Lightweight Single Sculls.

Speaking to Moncrieff on Monday afternoon, the gold medallists told Tom Dunne they "had a great run of it" in winning gold in Racice.

"We've been away for a month," Shane O'Driscoll revealed, where the duo competed in a World Cup event and a training camp before the Championships. "We didn't really think we were going to win by that much," Mark O'Donovan added, when asked about their race hopes.

The win caps an amazing week for Skibbereen Rowing Club, and when asked about what's in the water in the Cork town, Shane admitted it had more to do with what was on top of it.

"It's hard work and a lot of Skibbereen athletes. You have to put a lot of hard work and dedication and commitment into this type of sport... It's an endurance event. A lot of it is spent at an aerobic capacity."

Coach Dominic Casey was widely praised for his role in the development of the O'Donovan brother's development on the way to winning Olympic silver, and O'Donovan and O'Driscoll were quick to praise the role to the Skibbereen Head Coach.

"His knowledge is worth everything to us," Shane admitted. "There's a great community in Skibbereen... We all just work very hard together staying nice and honest. We always go for that win."

The duo have to weigh-in two hours before each race and Mark revealed the duo always eat "the bread, water and jam" in preparation for races. 

"It's a fast-releasing carbohydrate," Mark added when asked about the diet. "It's light on the stomach and wont repeat," he added. 

The duo were able to watch their Skibbereen teammates after getting the gold medals, and Denise Walsh impressed them both. 

"I've never saw her row so well before that last minute," Shane added.

"We have a regatta to look forward to in two weeks in Poland," Shane continued when asked about celebrations. The duo have their minds back in the water already, as Skibbereen Rowing Club goes from strength to strength. 

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week