Homecoming celebration tonight for Sinead

OLYMPIC ROWER BACK HOME IN DONEGAL

Homecoming celebration tonight for Sinead

A homecoming celebration will take place this evening (Thursday) for Donegal Olympian Sinead Jennings.

The event will take place at Letterkenny's Market Square, beginning at 7.30pm.

Sinead will return home today, less than a week after her memorable appearance in the Lightweight Double Sculls Olympic final.

Jennings said she was thrilled with her and Claire Lambe’s performance in Rio and said the entire Olympic experience was absolutely amazing.

However, she’s now looking forward to spending some time with her family and plans to take her three children, Clodagh, Molly and Hannah, to Donegal this weekend.

Last Friday, the Jennings family opened up their Letterkenny home to neighbours, friends and supporters who gathered to watch the rowing final.

Speaking on Highland Radio’s Shaun Doherty Show on Tuesday, Sinead said she was honoured that so many people took such an interest in her progress in Rio.

“I just feel so honoured, I couldn’t believe the number of people who turned out to watch the races,” she said.

“All the messages and the feel good spirit that was around the place - I feel so honoured for that. That means more to me than getting a medal. It would have been absolutely fabulous to get a medal. But to see that support and see people saying they had so much fun and excitement. If it brings people into rowing and women into sport, I’d be absolutely delighted.”

Sinead paid tribute to all the coaches and clubs in Donegal who played such an important part in her development in her younger years.

She also revealed that she hadn’t yet watched a replay of her final.

“I’d love to see how the race unfolded between the top three in our race, I think it was very exciting.”

She added that going into the race, she firmly believed they had a chance to medal, although getting to the final was an achievement in itself.

“We knew the field was very tight and if we made the final, which was going to be the most difficult part really, because quite often in our event, coming through the semis is always really difficult and somebody always loses out,” she said.

“There had been a bit of a headwind all week and that would have favoured us a little bit better. The conditions changed during our race and it went from head to tail and that made it a little bit faster.

“We prefer the long endurance race but with the tail wind, it was shorter and over quicker. I think we rowed as well as we possibly could in the tail wind. But if it had been a head wind, I really do think we could have got the medal.”

Sinead and her husband Sam will move the family back to their home in Limerick this week after being based in Cork during her Olympic training.

She said she can’t wait to get back to doing the normal things again - “like having pancakes on a Sunday morning instead of going out training - the basic normal things that you would miss.”