Over the course of a lifetime, it is a sad reality that dreams very seldom do come true. Best laid plans come unstuck. If it looks too good to be true, it generally is.
But then, there are those who don’t read the script. Or peruse it and choose to ignore it. How else to rationalise some of sport’s greatest happenings. Clare’s annexing of Munster Football Championship, Leitrim capturing Connacht, Leicester City, 5000/1 outsiders, storming to the Premiership title, small trainers like Tom Foley or the Bowe family usurping the big hitters.
Now look at this situation through a differenr lens. There are no sure things in life. Kerry were expected to hammer Clare, Mayo, according to accepted wisdom, should’ve steamrolled Leitrim, Leicester were supposed to get relegated, not be comfortable winners.
So, just because Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy were chalked up as the 1/3 favourites in their Double Sculls Final didn’t mean they were past the post before it began. Or it wouldn’t with a normal pairing. Then again, there has been nothing normal about Irish rowing since the O’Donovan brothers put it and Skibereen on the map around a half decade ago.
One is reminded of the old Rebel anthem Revenge For Skibereen’ but the thought strikes that it could be re-titled ‘Glory For Skibereen’ given the amount of that wonderful thing the sport of rowing has brought to that town, the Rebel County and the entire nation. Not only that but they have ignited the popularity of their area of expertise throughout the land.
It is only by hearing of the feats of others that people will be inclined to take up a given sport or activity, so with ambassadors like the O’Donovans flyimg the flag in their own ‘unique’ way it should be little wonder that the success story they instigated has been continued and embellished.
Both in terms of their own successes and the impact that had on the sport on a broader scale. As best evidenced by the history making achievement of the Irish ladies Fours in garnering a bronze medal. The first gong ever garnared by Irish ladies.
This, to me at least, underlines how much the sport has grown in recent times. Something surely further underscored by the fact that when Gary O’Donovan missed out on these Olympics due to a combination of injury and other circumstances, a top class performer like McCarthy was able to step in and did so to great aplomb.
Of even greater solace and potential excitement, mind you, was to hear Gary O’Donovan speak of being back in action for the next Olympiad. Not to mention the amount of people who will most likely be inspired to take to the water and take up their oars.
In the meantime, gut instinct is to think writing about Irish success in the Far East is far from finished yet.