European Youth Championships – PREVIEW

The Irish Youth team jetted off to Italy this morning or the European Championships.

With the men’s and women’s tournaments now combined, Ireland sent 15 out of a possible 20 fighters to the tournament in Roseto in the East of the country.

Over 400 fighters from 40 countries are expected to compete over the next week.

The Irish team is a blend of youth and experience, with over half the team being eligible for the age class next year.

Three of the team represented Ireland at Youth level last year, while eight have medaled at major international tournaments in the past.

At last year’s tournaments Ireland took home three bronze and a silver, with two of the medalists returning here.

A crucial championships, as will be explained below, here irish-boxing.com profile the team that will be looking to bring home medals and follow on from the Euro U22s last month which yielded a gold for Amy Broadhurst and a silver for Aoife O’Rourke.

Women’s Flyweight – 48kg
Daina Moorehouse
Enniskerry
Her first year at Youth, Moorehouse was unbeatable last year at Junior level, claiming European 48kg gold, the Best Boxer award, and not dropping a single round throughout the whole of 2017.

Men’s Flyweight – 49kg
Jude Gallagher
Two Castles
The confident Tyrone teen is another on the younger side of the class and is angling for his first international medal. The eight-time Irish champ was one fight from bronze at the European Juniors last year.

Women’s Flyweight – 51kg
Caitlyn Fryers
Immaculata
The Belfast fighter had a sensational year in 2017, winning European Youth silver and World Youth bronze to go with her 2016 European Junior bronze. Now up at 51kg, Fryers is a major medal contender in her final year of underage boxing.

Men’s Flyweight – 52kg
Dean Clancy
Ballinacarrow
The big-hitting Sligo fighter is stepping up to Youth level having claimed a European Junior silver last year. Full of confidence, the six-time Irish champion is targetting a berth at the Youth Olympics.

Women’s Bantamweight – 54kg
Mary Geraghty
Baldoyle
Her second year at Youth, the four-time national champion missed out on a European medal last year by one fight while also represented Ireland at the World Youth Championships.

Men’s Bantamweight – 56kg
Brandon McCarthy
St Michael’s Athy
The confident Kilkenny fighter was captain of the Irish Juniors last year and was a European Schoolboys silver medalist in the past. Indeed this is a fifth European Championships for the 11-time national champion.

Women’s Featherweight – 57kg
Dearbhla Rooney
Sean McDermott’s
A classy fighter, this will be the Leitrim five-time national champion’s first major international tournament.

Men’s Lightweight – 60kg
Alex Higgins
Fr Horgan’s
The unassuming Cork fighter will be making his major international tournament debut for Ireland in the competition.

Women’s Lightweight – 60kg
Aoibhe Ginty
Geesala
Coming up from Junior level, Irish fight fans will recognise the Mayo teen’s surname, with elder sister Ciara having claimed Youth Olympic silver in 2014. Cut from the same cloth, Aoibhe is a talented, rangey fighter.

Men’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Callum Walsh
Riverstown
The Cork fighter won European Junior lightweight gold last year and managed to edge past the talented Pierce O’Leary in the recent U-18s. Highly-rated by those in the know, Walsh has a perfect style for the current scoring system.

Women’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Evelyn Igharo
Clann Naofa
Pound-for-pound one of the strongest fighters on the team, Igharo is an eight-time national champion and a regular winner by knockout. The Louth fighter harshly missed out on a European Junior medal last year, losing in the quarters to Turkey despite forcing two counts.

Men’s Welterweight – 69kg
Edward Donovan
O.L.O.L.
Younger brother of Tokyo 2020 prospect Paddy, Edward is a massive talent in his own right. Donovan won European Junior gold in 2016 and subsequently spent his first year as a Youth training so as not to interfere with his brother’s second year in the class.

Women’s Middleweight – 75kg
Lauren Kelly
St Brigid’s Edenderry
The ladies’ captain, Kelly has won bronze at both European Junior and Youth level in the past and, having recovered from elbow surgery, will be looking to round out her underage career with a bang.

Men’s Middleweight – 75kg
Kane Tucker
Holy Family GG
The Newry fighter is the men’s captain and a decorated fighter having won Commonwealth Youth silver last year and Euro Schoolboys bronze before. A full-time fighter in his second year at the weight, Tucker is a gold medal hope.

Men’s Light Heavyweight – 81kg
Edward Barrett
Olympic
A two-time National champion, the Galway big man is in his first year at the age group and on his first major trip away.

This year the European Youth Championships take on added importance as the AIBA have controversially made them qualifying tournament for the World Youth Championships this August (in addition to the Youth Olympics as was always intended).

What’s needed for a place in the Youth Olympics this October in Argentina is simple – a fighter must win gold at this week. Ireland can take a maximum of 5 fighters to the Games (3 men, 2 women).

The male fighters must finish in the Top seven to ensure they fight in the Worlds – which take place in a city to be confirmed. The top seven are the quarter-finalists except for the quarter-finalist who loses to the semi-finalist who loses to the runner-up.

For the women, it’s more varied, Moorehouse, Geraghty, and Igharo need to make it to the semi-finals, while a quarter-final would suffice for Fryers, Kelly, Rooney, and Ginty.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie