Carly McNaul confident of winning war with Earley following sparring history

The TG4 TV broadcast this Saturday night at the Elite Senior finals will begin with a mini war for flyweight supremacy.

Runner-up last year and reigning U22 champ Niamh Earley will take on Commonwealth silver medallist Carly McNaul in a bout that is being tipped for fireworks.

Two aggressive, physical, and powerful punchers, it could be explosive but Belfast’s McNaul is going into the fight full of confidence and with the mindset that this is ‘her year’.

The 29-year-old won the title on a walkover back in 2017 but has improved massively since then to the point where she is targeting the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Silver in the Commonwealth Games and months of High Performance training has the East Belfast banger feeling confident and ready to take all before her.

“I can’t wait,” she told ahead of the final.

“I did the Ulsters and I was straight back in, training again, sparring again, getting ready for these here.”

“The Ulsters were a warm-up for these here, these are the big ones.”

mcnaul fryers

McNaul defeated former underage star Caitlin Fryers in the provincial final and was helping her beaten foe just days later for the U22 final – which Earley would win.

Such is the close-knit nature of Irish boxing, she is familiar with her upcoming Kildare foe

“She was in the U22s so I went and sparred her twice to help her out,” McNaul says plain and simply of her sessions with Fryers, almost unaware of how special and odd the image of the pair was before recalling her time in the ring with Earley.

“I’ve sparred her too she was up in the Ulsters camp, I think it was before she went to the Euro U22s.”

“I have a good bit of knowledge about her. The sparring was last year and she’s probably come on a bit but I’m a lot better than I was, I’ve gained a lot more experience from going to the Commonwealths.”

Full of confidence, McNaul doesn’t intend to be stopped and reiterated that “this is a qualifying year, a big year, my year.


logo may

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: