The Tallaght 29-year-old beat local rival Dylan McDonagh at Good Counsel GAA Club in Drimnagh to win the vacant Irish super bantamweight title following an absorbing.
The Celtic Clash 7 headliner came following a respectful build-up, but the two little men went to war in a bout which was scrappy at times but enthralling throughout and featured a number of sensational periods of hell-for-leather trading.
McDonald began stronger, raiding into range and targeting the body of ‘The Firecracker’ in the opening round.
Really using his size and strength, McDonald continued to swarm McDonagh in the second where he would be tied up – so much so that referee David Irving issued a warning to McDonagh for holding before doing the same to McDonald for twisting the arm. McDonagh would stand his ground afterwards, establishing something of a beachhead and perhaps starting a momentum shift of sorts.
33-year-old McDonagh began to push McDonald back in the third, timing a few nice right hands which saw him edge the round.
A scrappier fourth saw McDonagh again time some cute straght rights before bringing his noted left hook into play
It was close and messy again in the fifth, with both warned for their indiscretions in the clinch before McDonald was docked a point for use of the head. The Cobra’s corner were none too pleased and their man responded by looking to go toe-to-toe with McDonagh and imposing his will on him.
Following something of a rollicking from Eddie Hyland, McDonald came out in round six and landed apair of massive left hooks right to the chin of McDonagh. The pair were then given an extended severe warning by Irving which McDonald responded to by driving his oppent to the ropes and landing heavy shots. A wonderful round, McDonagh responded with a huge right hand onto his foe who was now cut to theside of the right brow. McDonagh then had his purple patch, timing lovely left hooks before the pendulum again swung back McDonald’s way as the fight returned to the ropes.
McDonald began to thunder in left hands in the seventh. McDonagh was figing well in spurts and getting in counters here and there but it was McDonald’s round as the momentum moved back over to his little corner of Jobstown – or so it seemed..
A close eighth stanza saw McDonald be the aggressor, and enjoy a good closing period, but the Jonathan Lewins-trained McDonagh, who looked to be feeling the pace more, landing plenty of smart, single shots.
A potentially massive moment came at the start of the ninth, with McDonagh docked a point for twisting the arm – a deduction the McDonald corner had been calling for for much of the fight. Like when his rival was penalised, McDonagh responded by forcing the fight to the ropes only to be pushed back in turn by McDonald who hit home with bigger shots inside as the pair battled it out in the blue corner as the divided crowd went wild.
Touching floves at the start of the tenth, it was McDonald who would go on the back foot before being dragged into a bout of in-fighting. Breaking free, McDonald landed one particularly crisp straight right hand before it was back to the blue forner for more furious toe-to-toe action. Released to centre ring they traded big single shots to the bell – McDonald landing last as we went to the scorecards.
Both teams felt their man had won the bout at the conclusion and there was an anxious wait as the scores were tallied.
Following what seemed like an age, the cards were read
…in favour of Carl McDonald.
There was a tumble in the ring as McDonald ran to the turnbuckle, overcome with emotion as his family and friends stormed ingside.
Presented wth the green belt a tearful McDonald embraced his defeated foe before being taken into a bear hug by the belt’s last holder and his long-time team-mate Paulie Hyland.
McDonald improves to 5(0)-2(0) following the thrilling fight while McDonagh drops to 3(1)-2(0).
There are potential big fights in the offing now for McDonald – at super bantam or bantam – while McDonagh will be more than capable of rebuilding, perhaps even as low as super featherweight.
Photo CreditL Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)