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Boxing: Dervla Duffy & Clare Grace star on Irish Elite finals night at National Stadium
by Michael O'Neill
January 27, 2015

(JAN 27) Nine champions were crowned at the National Elite Women’s finals at the National Stadium in Dublin at the weekend inc. Olympic BC’s Debbie O’Reilly the new 60kg lightweight titleholder.

Arguably though the ‘bouts of the night’ were those at 57kg featherweight where St Brigid’s Dervla Duffy, long an Irish international defeated reigning champion, Joanne Lambe from Carrickmacross (k.o 4)

and at 69kg where two of Ireland’s best future prospects, had a ‘battle royal’ before reigning champion Kilkenny’s Clare Grace overcame the ‘young pretender’ to the crown, Macroom’s Christina Desmond on a 2:1 split decision.

Congratulations too to Kelly Harrington, an Irish Elite champion for the fifth time. A magnificent achievement by the St.Margaret’s boxer.

Dublin City University 20 year old student Grace, amazingly, was the only boxer, male or female, to retain a title over the two nights. Yet again sadly there was no TV coverage of the women’s finals, just like previous years, despite full coverage of the men’s finals the previous night. Hopefully the Irish Amateur Boxing Association will recognise their overall responsibility for the sport (male AND female) come the 2016 finals.

Why not hold half of the finals on each night with both final nights covered by their contract with TG4 even if one has delayed or deferred coverage?

HSE ambulance paramedic, Debbie O’Reilly, the European Powerlifting silver medallist, took the 60kg crown in the absence of defending champion Katie Taylor, who had not fully recovered from the injury sustained when taking a record equalling 5th-in-a-row AIBA World Elite title in Korea in November. With the inaugural European Games (the ‘European Olympics’) coming up in Baku later in the year, Taylor understandably was taking no chances here.

Now here from Dublin’s ‘Fair City’ is how Bernard O’Neill reported the night’s action ringside:

“Lauren Hogan had her hand raised in victory following a hard-fought win over Maeve Clarke in the light-fly class, while Ceire Smith, the defending flyweight champion, beat EU Youth gold medallist Kristina O’Hara.

“We’re absolutely over the moon, said coach Liam Brereton. “Lauren is still only eighteen and she’s already won an under 18 title and a European Youth bronze medal and now a Senior title, absolutely brilliant.”

Joanne Lambe, who reached the last 16 at the World Championships in 2014, was looking to retain her featherweight crown, but was stopped by Dervla Duffy in the fourth round. Duffy knocked the defending champion out with a clean right/left combo in the final frame.

Meanwhile, Debbie O’Reilly secured the vacant lightweight belt on a unanimous decision over Louise Donohue. Olympic champion Katie Taylor was the defending lightweight champion but had to withdraw because of a hand injury. Kelly Harrington retained the light-welter belt at the expense of Clare’s Kayleigh Murrihy.

Defending welterweight champion Clare Grace also emerged victorious. The AIBA World No. 8 and European Elite bronze medallist beat 18-year-old Youth Olympian Christina Desmond, a silver medallist at the 2013 World Youths, on a split decision.

Diana Campbell also scored a split decision, the Garda BC ace taking two of the judges with her in her victory over defending 81kg+ champion Fiona Nelson in the final bout of the 2015 National Male and Female Elite Championships.

Irish women’s boxing is proudly sponsored by QuickPark of Dublin Airport”.

2015 Elite Female Finals :

48kg Lauren Hogan (St Brigid’s, Offaly) beat Maeve Clarke (Ballinacarrow) 3-0

51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan) beat Kristina O’Hara (Emerald) 3-0

54kg Michaela Walsh (Holy Family) W/O

57kg Dervla Duffy (St Brigid’s, Kildare) beat Joanne Lambe (Carrickmacross) KO4

60kg Debbie O’Reilly (Olympic) beat Louise Donohue (Geesala) 3-0

64kg Kelly Harrington (St Margaret’s) beat Kayleigh Murrihy (Kilfenora) 3-0

69kg Clare Grace (Callan) beat Christina Desmond (Macroom) 2-1

75kg Laoise Traynor (Bray) W/O81+kg Diana Campbell (Garda) beat Fiona Nelson (City of Belfast) 2-1

Link: RTE Radio Report with interviews is here: http://www.iaba.ie/elite-finals-rte-1-radio-report/


Debbie O’Reilly’s Athletic journey + profile is here: https://www.facebook.com/debbieoreillyathlete


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