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Darren O’Neill: Irish Team confident ahead of European Championships

Irish team captain, Darren O’Neill, has revealed that he and his team are in a bullish mood ahead of the European Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria.

Speaking on Game On on RTÉ 2FM, the Kilkenny heavyweight admitted that “from a team point of view, we have big expectations.”

“Realistically we’re all aiming to get to the World Championships – so that’s Top 6 at all weights.”

Continuing, the Paulstown BC fighter also reasoned that “you’d be expecting Joe Ward and Michael Conlan to come home with medals.”

On his own goals ahead of the championships, the 2012 Olympian is “looking for a decent draw, then two or three good performances and I’ll be in with a shout.”

Former middleweight O’Neill is also more confident than ever since he moved up to heavyweight. This in part is due to his performances at the European Games in Baku in June where he was edged out, somewhat controversially, at the quarter stage by Ukranian hotshot Gevorg Manukian.

On the inaugural multi sport event, O’Neill feels that “I take great confidence from Baku – the Top 3 [Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia] from that are gone too [for the European Championships].”

On this developing heavyweight confidence, O’Neill admits that, since moving up, “everytime I go to meet the minimum requirements – I think this time I’ll shoot for the stars.”

“Obviously I’m going [to these championships] to perform, that’s what I’m concentrating on.”

“I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t qualify for the worlds.”

Boxing in Samokov begins at 5pm (Irish time) tomorrow.

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: