Ireland's Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe and Natalie Long have won silver in the women's four at the European Rowing Championships in Munich.

The Irish boat hit the front from the start but Great Britain took over the lead just after the 500m mark and had a length to spare at halfway.

Into the final quarter, Poland were pushing hard for second as the GB boat pulled clear but Ireland held on for second, 2.07 seconds behind the winners, who clocked 6.50.92.

Lambe said that they put so much effort into getting that quick start, and it ultimately set them up for the entire race.

"A lot it actually came from good practice in the eights, the big, heavy boats," she said.

"We knew if we could get five powerful strokes at the start we could get a bit of a lead and set a rhythm from there.

"That was our aim, all we thought about was those first five strokes."

Long said that despite the strength of the Great Britain team heading into the race, they did have ambitions of standing on top of the podium.

(L-R) Natalie Long, Aifric Keogh, Tara Hanlon and Eimear Lambe celebrate

"Our goal was to try and win it. We know the Brits quite well, I went to uni with a girl off the Brits' crew.

"I knew we have a good second half but I think the headwind got the better of us."

For Keogh, even when Great Britain stormed clear, she maintained hopes of reeling them in.

"You’re always backing yourself no matter what, there was no point in the race where we were like 'oh, it’s all over.’

"We’re very strong in the second half and I think no matter what the girls know that once I say ‘go’ it means business.

"We tried it today, we went that bit harder than usual, probably suffered a bit more, [but] we needed to try it and we know what we need to learn from it."

Hanlon, meanwhile, was delighted with how they held off Poland in the close 250 metres.

"Today we had suffered a bit from the first half but I think we still hung on for silver, we weren’t going to let that go."

Keogh and Lambe won Olympic bronze in the same event. Their boatmates in Tokyo, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty, finished fourth in the women's pair final today, with the gold medal going to Romania.

Murtagh and Hegarty started strongly but were edged out of the medals by the halfway mark and came home in a time of 7:45.13.

Ireland have four boats in finals from 10.30am on Sunday (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player), including reigning Olympic champions Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan in the lightweight men's double sculls decider.

Watch live coverage of the of the European Championships on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 9.10am Sunday