Gary and Paul O'Donovan joined Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty in qualifying for finals at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria this morning.

The Olympic and European medallists finished third in a very competitive lightweight men's double sculls semi-final, just under two seconds behind winners Italy in a time of 6:23.780.

The Skibbereen men made their traditional slow start but ended up in a battle with Belgium, who finished second (6:22.830), and Poland (6:25.300).

European champions Norway won the first semi-final in a time just .08 faster than the Irish men.

Keogh and Hegarty are into the final of the women's pair after winning their semi-final.

Less than two seconds separated the Irish duo from fourth-placed USA in what was a very close finish.

Both the O'Donovans and Keogh/Hegarty's finals take place on Saturday morning.

Recently formed Irish men's double sculls team Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle are through to the semi-finals of their class.

They finished over three seconds clear of the Bulgarian boat, and were the fastest across the four repechage heats.

Their semi-final takes place on Friday, as does the men's quad final, which Ireland qualified for yesterday, and Sanita Puspure's single sculls semi-final.

Former world champions Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan were fifth in the men's pair quarter-final, just under ten seconds off the qualifying places.

The Cork men, who have moved up to the heavyweight class in an attempt to qualify for Tokyo 2020, were then in a dead heat for second in the runners-up semi-final and will contest the C final on Saturday.

Aoife Casey and Denise Walsh won their lightweight double sculls C/D semi-final by four seconds from Spain and also go again on Saturday.

Watch the World Rowing Championships live on RTÉ2 on Saturday (9.20am) and Sunday from (9.50am)