Ireland's lightweight double sculls crew of Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy cruised to victory in their final at the European Rowing Championships in Munich.

Racing in lane three, O'Donovan and McCarthy sat in second and stalked Switzerland's Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ireland for much of the 2000m race, with the Italian crew of Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo back in third.

However, with 500m to go, the Irish crew surged clear of their rivals to stop the clock in six minutes 34.72 seconds.

The duo have proven a dominant force in the event in recent years, winning gold at the Worlds in Ottensheim in 2019, at the European Championships in Varese in 2021 and at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

Italy snatched silver in 6:38.40, with Switzerland rounding off the podium places as they crossed the line in 6:39.67.

Reflecting on the win, McCarthy told RTÉ Sport: "It was a tough old race. There was a kind of a headwind out there, it was longer than what we're used to."

The next port of call for the crew should be next month's World Championships in Racice, but O'Donovan cast doubt on his participation.

"That's a question at the minute. I have to go back to school next week and I suppose most people have realised I'm a bit stupid!" the self-deprecating UCC medical student said.

"I need all the time studying I can get so that I don't fail everything and have an absolute disaster. The World Championships may be in question for myself anyway, we'll see."

Elsewhere, the Irish boat of Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen finished just outside the medals in the women's lightweight double sculls.

Heaphy and Cremen finished fourth in 7:37.51, with the British crew of Emily Craig and Imogen Grant outclassing their rivals in 7:27.82. France filled the runner-up berth, with Italy bagging bronze.

While Aoife Casey crossed the line in fourth in 8:11.68 in her lightweight single sculls final, with Ionela Cozmiuc of Romania winning gold in 8:04.41 from Greece's Zoi Fitsiou and Martine Veldhuis of the Netherlands.

Steven McGowan and Katie O'Brien also finished fourth in the mixed double sculls para event. The Irish boat clocked 9:14.55 as Ukraine led home crews from France and Poland.