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Galway’s Olympians have eyes on the prize

Galway’s first – and only – Olympic medalists have their eyes on the prize in Paris next month where they hope to emulate the feat they achieved in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Rowers Aifric Keogh from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen have officially been confirmed as members of Team Ireland, which is sending its largest ever rowing contingent to this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

The Galway duo – along with Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty – made history in 2021 when they won bronze medals for Ireland in the Women’s Fours final in Japan.

This time Keogh and Murtagh will compete in the Women’s Pairs and are considered genuine medal contenders.

Incredibly, though they live just 10km apart as the crow flies, neither rowed together competitively in a pair until last September – and it happened by chance.

“They came together just before the World Championships in Belgrade. They’d only been together three weeks. It happened by accident on a training camp.

“I think there was someone injured or something and they hopped in a pair, and rowed and the time was pretty good. The coach said, ‘let’s try this again, this is a good boat’. They’ve been training away since,” explained Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father.

They finished fourth in that competition, which qualified the Irish boat for the Olympics but not themselves. Their own qualification was rubberstamped at subsequent World Cup Regattas as they earned silver in Barese, bronze in Lucerne and silver last weekend in Poznan.

Caption: Aifric Keogh, left, and Fiona Murtagh during the Rowing Team Ireland Paris 2024 team announcement at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

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