Delighted Dearbhla Rooney ready to enter European stage

Leitrim’s premier fighting talent claimed Irish title number five at the weekend and is now ready to show her skills on the international stage.

Dearbhla Rooney of the Sean McDermott club in Manorhamilton gave a classy performance on Friday night at the National Stadium in Dublin to defeat Ellie Preston of Baldoyle and win the U18 Open competition at flyweight.

“I’m delighted with the win, it hasn’t sunk in,” Rooney said afterwards.

The 17-year-old admitted that her fitness was less than ideal for the fight, but she still had more than enough ring nous to box smartly from the outside and take a 5-0 unanimous decision win.

Rooney recalled how “I felt mostly in control, I started off fine but in the first round, towards the end of the round, I felt my legs going a wee bit more tired than they should be so soon on and I was getting stuck in, not moving away as much as I liked.”

“The gameplan going into it – I knew she was the kind of boxer that would run at you, see we watched her last fight and she was throwing a lot of punches. I have quite good footwork so I was hoping to pick at her and step out of the way, I didn’t want to get stuck in and get caught with a lot of shots.

“In the second round I picked it up, maybe she got tired as well, but I felt more in control. Then, in the third round, I was really into it – but again, I was more tired than I would have liked.

Her win on Friday night should see Rooney selected for the European Youth Championships in Italy this coming April.

While she has plenty of Irish titles, it would actually be the Connacht fighter’s first major international tournament, another big step.

Rooney outlined how “this is my first time away. I’ve never been lucky enough to get over the line but I’m delighted now. Fingers crossed.”


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: