Fermanagh rower, Ross Corrigan capped off his final year in the U23 category with a brilliant silver medal for Ireland at the World U23 Rowing Championships.

The event, held in Racice, Czech Republic, saw Ireland return with two silver medals.

Ross along with John Kearney, Alex Byrne and Jack Dorney were narrowly beaten by Canada in the final of the M4 event on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Ross who rows with Queen’s University Belfast where he studies and the crew took part in the first heat where they had to finish in the top two to proceed directly to the semi-final and they did just that alongside Canada.

“We placed second against Canada. We were pretty conservative for the race,” said Ross.

“Ourselves and Canada had a good distance on the rest of the field by like halfway and then coming into the last 500 metres we knew we were well up so we just held her, we took it down a bit and held our position.”

After getting the nerves out of the system in the first heat it was then on to the semi-finals.

“We had the semi-finals on Saturday. And that was top three to get directly into the final, and won with Great Britain second and Russia in third.”

Sunday’s final saw Ireland come up against Canada, Great Britain, Russia, Germany and Belarus.

“Canada beat us by 1.98 seconds. We had led in the first half of the race, just before the halfway point and they kind of slowly built a bit of a lead off us thereafter,” Ross recalled.

Looking back at expectations for the World Championships Ross admitted he never wanted to look too far ahead and the possibility of winning a medal: “You never want to assume anything. The four of us have been training together since January and throughout the whole six months, our main focus was to just concentrate on our boat and the performance rather than looking for an outcome.

“You do want to win a gold medal and that’s why we do it but we stuck to performance and we stuck to the process.”

And while he knew they were moving fast during training, one of the coaches he spoke to after the race revealed just how fast they were going and the confidence he had they were going to pick up a medal.

“I was talking to a coach in the airport on the way home, and he asked me did I know we were going to medal. And I said I thought about it but I didn’t want to dwell on it.

“I asked him did he think we were going to medal and he said that three weeks before we did a racing session, and from our times he was like it’s almost certain it would be a medal, it’d be a matter of which colour.

“Because based off the world record our trend patterns were same the speed.”

With this being his final year at U23, Ross is happy to sign off with a medal, having first rowed in the U23 World Championships in 2019 along with fellow Fermanagh man, Ryan Ballantine. The duo had come through the ranks at Portora and subsequently Enniskillen Royal Boat Club

“We came seventh that year [in 2019]. Ryan got a bronze that year and I was just like if there’s one thing I wanted, it was a World medal and, like, obviously I knew if I kept working, it’d be possible and it’s great to actually have one,” added Ross.

It is unlikely Ross will race again at U23 level so he plans to take a break from training before returning to it in August with his sights set firmly on the Paris Olympics in 2024.