Dearbhla Denied – Rooney loses World Youth Championships opener on agonising split-decision

Ireland got off to a losing start at the World Youth Championships in Budapest this afternoon.

Leitrim featherweight Dearbhla Rooney was the first Irish boxer in action and the Sean McDermott’s stylist lost out on an agonising split-decision in the Hungarian capital.

The European Youth silver medallist lost her Round of 32 bout to Thailand’s Panpatchara Somnuek.

An extreme clash of styled, the aggressive Asian Youth bronze medallist’s work and activity was judged favourably over the finesse and clean shots of Rooney, in line with recent AIBA trends.

The Thai fighter began swinging but the more compact Rooney picked her shots well. However, towards the end of the opener, the physical Somnuek began to break the Connacht teen down, doing damage to the body.

Rooney enjoyed a strong start to the second, listening to coaches Mike Mongan, Billy McClean, and Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth who were imploring her to use her skill set in the face of relentless pressure. The rugged Somnuek was enjoying success though with hurtful shots providing the judges with a ‘what you like’ dilemma in terms of scoring

Looking tired, Rooney admirably stuck to her boxing at the start of the final, potentially decisive round as Somnuek grew increasingly ragged. The South East Asian, though, kept coming, with one especially destructive barrage punctuated by her wrestling Rooney to the canvas.

With the bout hanging in the balance, the fight went to the cards and Rooney was edged on an agonising split-decision, losing 3-2. Two 29-28 cards were handed in in the Irish boxer’s favour, but a 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s for Somnuek saw her get the nod.

Ireland have one more boxer in action on Day 1, with European Youth and Junior silver medallist Dean Clancy facing American Asa Stevens in the flyweight Round of 32.

Tuesday August 21st
Last 32
57kg:Dearbhla Rooney (Ireland) v Panpatchara Somnuek (Thailand)
52kg:Dean Clancy (Ireland) v Asa Stevens (USA)

Wednesday August 22nd
Last 32
56kg Brandon McCarthy (Ireland) v Akash Kumar (India)

Last 16
48kg Daina Moorehouse (Ireland) v Marta Lopez (Spain)

Thursday August 23rd
Last 32
51kg Caitlin Fryers (Ireland) v Kittiya Nampa (Thailand)

Last 16
49kg Jude Gallagher (Ireland) v Renuex Zhao (China)

Sunday August 26th
Last 16
75kg: Lauren Kelly (Ireland) v Tallya Brillaux (France) (afternoon)

Irish squad
48kg Daina Moorhouse (Enniskerry)
49kg Jude Gallagher (Two Castles)
51kg Caitlin Fryers (Immaculata)
52kg Dean Clancy (Ballinacarrow)
56kg Brandon McCarthy (St Michael’s Athy)
57kg Dearbhla Rooney (Sean McDermott)
75kg Lauren Kelly (St Brigid’s Edenderry)

Team manager: Stephen Connolly and Tara Mari Robins
Head coach: Billy McClean
Coaches: Michael Carruth, Michael Mongan, Anita Just
Physio: David Cooke


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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: