An exhausted Paul O’Donovan was in buoyant mood after he claimed the lightweight men's single sculls World Championship gold medal in Florida.

The Corkman cruised to victory in a time of 6.48.87, more than three seconds ahead of second placed Matthew Dunham of New Zealand, as he left his opponents trailing in his wake.

It was a typical performance from O’Donovan who made his trademark relaxed start to the race before powering away from the rest of the field in the second half of the race.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport afterwards, he admitted that the win took almost everything of him.

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"It was good, the boy did well and it’s lovely to hear the national anthem," he said.

"It was all right there for a while. I started to sprint there at the end and I managed to throw myself over the line and take the win.

"I gave most of [what I had to give], it’d be hard to do much more."

The high temperatures in Florida have made it difficult for rowers this week and O’Donovan admitted that he had to have a game plan to cope with the heat.

"It’s easy to exert yourself because of the heat, so you have to play it safe in the first half and not blow up because we saw some of that yesterday in the semi-finals.

"A few of the guys were hanging for third and two strokes before the line they’d blow up and were passed out, so you have to kind of pace it a bit easier at the start so you don’t go too hard."

Fellow Skibbereen rowers Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll also claimed gold in the lightweight men’s event and O’Donovan can envisage them challenge him and his brother Paul for the double sculls in the future.

"They’ll try for sure. They’re good, they might knock one of us out of the two but sure what harm?" he said.

Providing medal competition for the O’Donovan brothers may be in the future for Mark O’Donovan and O’Driscoll but for now they’re happy to bask in the glow of a job well done in Florida.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Mark, who is no relation to the O’Donovan brothers, said: "It’s a long journey for myself and Shane and thankfully we were able to do what we did. We couldn’t have done it without some of the personal backing we got from people to actually allow us to race here.

"We’ve been time and time at it and we’ve been failing but [we've persisted], we’re going hard at it every day and we’re really getting there."

O’Driscoll went on to pay tribute to the Italian team who have enjoyed a fierce rivalry with the Irish duo, but had to settle for second place this time.

"They won the Under-23 World Championship and I think they really pushed us into the line," he said.

"We didn’t get that all year so today this fight means a little bit more that the other ones, especially because it’s the World Championships."

O’Driscoll also played down any talk of pressure and insisted that he and his partner treated the final as they would any other race. 

"It’s like racing the Skibbereen regatta or Cork regatta, you’re going to do your best anyway. It’s just two men in a boat," he insisted.