The rangey St Michael’s fighter overcame Glengormley’s Conor Kerr in a messy decider at the Ulster Hall, with the reigning champion emerging a 3-2 split decision winner.
While the rejuvenated competition saw a big increase in entries, injuries and weight movers meant that it was a straight final at 56kg.
McNally explained to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards that “it was very scrappy, I’m not pleased with the performance, but it was a long wait, I weighed in then it was a straight final so I was near two weeks waiting.”
“It was a bit ‘win at all costs,’ I wanted to put a performance on and I didn’t, but I got the win.”
“That was my first time in the Ulster Hall and it was unreal, I always wanted to box in here. I never thought I’d get the opportunity.”
Analysing the fight itself, he noted that “I thought I lost the first round, came into it a bit late just trying to find my range. Second and third then I thought I picked it up and started catching him with clean shots.”
“He was an awkward fighter. Smaller fighters, they find it difficult. I spar boys a lot heavier than me and when they [opponents] are smaller I can handle them with ease.”
McNally has a busy few months ahead, and outlined how “it’s the [National] Seniors in February but I’m away to Belgium on Thursday so I’m back training Monday.”
However, while many winners on Friday night were talking about heading to the Commonwealth Games in Australia next April, McNally acknowledges that there is an elephant in the room.
Three-time Irish Elite champion and European bronze medalist Kurt Walker was forced to withdraw from the Ulsters due to a broken thumb and, considering his talents and achievements, it is assumed he will be given a chance to state his claim for a spot on the plane to the Gold Coast.
McNally is keen to go to the Commonwealths, but admits that “there’s Kurt Walker, so I don’t know what’s actually going to happen.”
When asked if he would be open to a box-off with the Canal star, McNally replies immediately.
“One hundred percent. Whatever comes my way, I’ll take it all.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)