Five of Ireland's six crews progressed from their respective heats on the opening day of the first World Cup event of the 2018 season, the World Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia.
Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty were first up for Team Ireland in Heat 1 of the women’s pair, securing a third place finish which was enough to progress directly into the A/B semifinals, with Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska quickly following suit in Heat 3 of the women’s double sculls also placing third.
Sanita Puspure was a convincing winner of the first heat in the women’s single sculls, beating the nearest threat of Ukrainian sculler Diana Dymchenko by a margin of just under 9 seconds, also ensuring direct qualification to the semi-final stages.
Denise Walsh and Margaret Cremen took a slightly longer route to qualification in the lightweight women’s double sculls heats, taking fifth place in what was their first international race together in the same boat.
Later, they needed to place third or higher in the repechage and this they achieved, producing a remarkably improved performance cutting almost 20 seconds off their earlier race time and securing third position behind Poland and the Netherlands.
Gary and Paul O' Donovan were second in their heat in the lightweight men’s double sculls, while Mark O'Donovan & Shane O'Driscoll were fifth and will contest the C Final in the men’s pair.
The new Irish heavyweight pair was unlucky to miss out on a chance to contest the A/B semifinals after finishing 1.75 seconds outside the necessary third position in the repechage.
Racing continues for all Irish crews tomorrow in Belgrade.