Excitement engulfs the Stadium at Irish Teams final press call
By Jonny Stapleton
There was an air of excitement not seen since Kenny Egan and Joe Ward prepared to do battle in the National Senior Championships earlier this year, at the London Olympic Press Conference in the National Stadium today.
The Irish team minus Katie Taylor, who because she is a week behind in training favoured to do her sweating in the gym rather than under the lights of the cameras, assembled and faced the media for the last time before they XXX Olympiad.
The Pug nosed stalwarts that regularly decorate the National Stadium were joined by the countries media, some of which might have needed to consult their sat navs to find the famous South Circular Road venue.
Camera’s snapped and recorded paparazzi style. Boxers, coaches, team managers and anyone sporting a green tracksuit fielded questions from media of the print, television, radio and even online kind.
Some of the Irish team did their very own pop star impressions signing autographs and poising for pictures that will be proudly plastered over Facebook this evening.
Such excitement and focus is born from the fact most believe this talented bunch of decorated champions can lead Irish sport on its most successful treasure hunt.
Ireland’s hopes of finding precious metals in the form of gold, silver and bronze medals in London seem to rest on the shoulders of the six strong Irish team.
The likes of the great Jimmy Magee, who has 14 Olympics including two Winter Games under his belt, and legendary boxing writer Gerry Callan, who hasn’t just seen it all before but can recount in great detail, were a little more relaxed- and it seems the boxers followed their lead.
There was no bold gold predictions as Team Ireland sang of what seemed a scripted hymn sheet.
A more media savvy or possibly media cautious bunch upgraded the one fight at a time mantra to a 30 seconds at a time policy ,displaying a focus that surely has roots in some sports psychology sessions.
It is a focus and professionalism that Kenneth Egan believes is the envy of other sports. The Beijing Silver medallist, whose input Billy Walsh said has been invaluable over the last few weeks, revealed the High Performance set up is being studied by other Olympic sports.
A fresh, healthy, content and even dapper looking Egan might not be travelling to the games, but he seemed genuinely excited for his team mates and the journey that lays ahead.
The Clondlakin man beamed that cheeky smile that endears him to grannies across the nation and talked of an incomprehensible ‘Wonderland’ that is the Olympic village. He reflected on a star spotting, glasses sporting Darren Sutherland and the late great fighters eagerness to be snapped with some sporting greats on their Chinese adventure.
Olympic Bronze medallist Sutherland was on a number of the fighters minds not least that of his room mate in 2008 John Joe Nevin.
Tickets, Twitter, travel and all sorts of potential trails and tribulations were also bashed out inches from the National Stadium ring, as the Irish Team feed the media enough information to fill their slots for the next few weeks.
The special six, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Darren O’Neill, John Joe Nevin, Katie Taylor and Adam Nolan’s sole attention will now be on progressing as far as they can in the greatest sporting tournament on Earth and understandably will not be available to the media untill glove off.
However, we here at Irish-boxing.com will have a stock pile of interviews, views and Olympic opinion ready for consumption and we will be sharing all of today’s news with you over the coming hours, days and weeks.