Going into last week's World Championships in Serbia, Fermanagh rowers, Nathan Timoney and Ross Corrigan had two steps - qualify for the Olympics and win a medal.

By the end of the championships, both steps had been completed.

Having made the finals and qualified a boat in the Men's Pair for the 2024 Olympics in Paris for Ireland, the rowers picked up a bronze medal as well for their efforts.

This mindset and desire to achieve these goals was a huge motivation for them as they prepared for the competition and gave them huge belief in their performances throughout the week.

"Going into the championships with the right mindset was probably one of the most important things for the two of us and the belief of winning a medal was definitely there regardless of the likelihood," explained Timoney.

"As unusual as it seems, having this approach only made our training more and more effective because we weren’t going through the motions in training hoping for a good outcome or hoping for the best, it was like: 'No, we will qualify for the Olympics and that’s how it’s going to be'.

"It just increased the hunger for it and enhanced the training.

"Since we engrained this mindset months before the championship, I wouldn’t say the belief increased as we progressed through the week of competition but it definitely increased during our training as watched our weekly prognostics improve on paper. "So when the competition started, we were stoic on what we knew was possible to achieve and knew a positive outcome would suss itself out as long as the mental and physical preparation was done in the best way possible."

Timoney described qualifying for the Olympics as "sensational" but they did not rest on their laurels as they focussed on the final.

The final saw the pair start strong and Timoney felt they had to do something to reach their potential: "The final is a game where everyone steps up to another gear, everyone is at the literal peak of their lives in terms of fitness.

"Our approach to rowing a 2km race has changed throughout the last few months and many don’t realise the potential or gear you can really go to, especially psychologically.

"We knew we had to do something to find that extra gear our bodies were capable of at this point in preparation, so we told ourselves that we wouldn’t settle off the start until we saw every crew behind us when this happened in the final, we just kept going and going as it felt so natural."

While the gold proved elusive, Timoney believes it will come one day and the bronze medal just increases the hunger to keep improving.

Shock and euphoria were the emotions in the boat as they made history as the first Irish heavyweight sweep crew to win a medal in history.

"We did a lot of work early in the race to make sure we had a lead and make sure we would close down shut down anyone else kill off any threat from the Romanians or the Americans but then in some ways shock just pure joy really and a lot of pain I was suffering big time because it was a sore race<" said Corrigan.

"We knew we were in for a medal; well I suppose you never know what can happen. We knew that as long as we didn’t mess up we were in for a medal coming into the last couple hundred metres of the race.

"We knew it was coming then just to get across the line the last 200 metres was very tough.

"It was a delight then to get over .on to the podium or get ready to walk up to the podium and see all my family in the stands and see all the supporters and then it all follows on there was absolutely huge support from the Irish supporters this year both at home and over in Belgrade."

That support has been a standout for both of the rowers with Corrigan saying it was an extra motivation for them to do those supporters in the stands and back home proud.

"It's a real motivator. It's a real kind of humbling thing as well just because there’s people there like just to come out to watch us race, the team race and like they’re so invested in what we do.

"It almost doesn’t make sense to me. I’m here to do this but then for some of those people that aren’t family, they care so much about how we do it's a really humbling thing, a really touching thing to have."

As well as the support in Serbia, both rowers also know how much support they have at home.

"Looking back at our routes kicking off at Portora Boat Club, now Enniskillen Royal Boat Club, you would genuinely think we never left, that’s how unbelievable the support has been from the club," said Timoney.

Corrigan added: "We have had so much support from everyone in Fermanagh and the boat club and all over the place. It has been insane really. The phone hasn’t stopped since last Thursday. It's amazing and I’m just so grateful and happy for it all."

With the boat having qualified for the Olympics next year, Timoney and Corrigan now have work to do to ensure they are the ones sitting in it in Paris.

And they are determined to improve even more from the World Championship.

"In October we will reset, go back to the drawing board and find ways to go to another level again. We are content with the progress but also know we still have yet to develop and work on so many areas that will make us faster so we are excited for this. Once we get this right, we know we can do something special," concluded Timoney.