Rowing Ireland CEO Hamish Adams is confident the six Irish crews can put up more than just a good showing at the World Rowing Championships in Florida next week.
Unfortunately, one of Ireland’s top medal hopes – the men’s lightweight double sculls crew of Gary and Paul O’Donovan – will not feature as Gary has been forced to withdraw due to illness.
Instead, Paul O'Donovan will compete in the lightweight men's single sculls in a bid to retain his world title.
Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll will compete once again in the lightweight men’s pair. They remain unbeaten in this category across the three World Cup events of 2017, as well as obtaining the title of European champions, and will be aiming to top off a season of unprecedented titles in Sarasota-Bradenton.
A newly formed heavyweight men’s pair of Patrick Boomer (Belfast Rowing Club) and Fionnan McQuillan-Tolan (NUIG) will also compete, as well as a women’s equivalent in the shape of Aileen Crowley (UCD) and Aifric Keogh (UCC).
The two remaining women’s crews are double Olympian Sanita Puspure of Old Collegians in the women’s single sculls, and 2017 European silver medallist Denise Walsh from Skibbereen in the women’s lightweight single.
Speaking ahead of the championships, which begin on Sunday, Hamish Adams said: "We have high expectations for our team of six crews in Sarasota, whilst it is disappointing to lose Gary to illness in the Olympic class lightweight double, it is a bonus that Paul will get to defend his World title in the lightweight single.
"Shane and Mark are also strong medal prospects in the non-Olympic lightweight pair but we are also very focused on the development of heavyweight crews with the recent loss of the Olympic lightweight four boat category.
WThe men’s and women’s pairs represent our commitment to this process and we are excited to see these two crews competing alongside Sanita.
"All in all we are very positive about Irish rowing and our strength continues to grow on the international scene."
RTE Sport's live coverage of the championships begins on Thursday next on RTÉ2 television.
Joe Stack will be joined in studio by Neville Maxwell and Sinead Lynch, with commentary from Ger Canning and Sam Lynch. Evanne Ni Chuillin will also be reporting from Sarasota.
RTÉ2 coverage details:
Thursday 28 September - 3.00-4.55pm
Friday 29 September - 4.30-6.55pm
Saturday 30 September - 4.30-5.40pm
Sunday 1 Octonber - 3.30-4.30pm, with highlights of the championships from 8.00 -8.55pm.