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Gráinne Walsh tipped for Olympic medal

Having ignored the noise to qualify for Paris, Gráinne Walsh is set to make some serious Olympic noise according to Patricia Heberle.

There was a huge sense of goodwill, even relief when the Offally puncher finally became an Olympian in Thailand last week.

However, the Irish fight family shouldn’t be celebrating too much just yet, according to the High Performance Director. Heberle has advised the champagne should be kept on ice and only popped when the St Mary’s Dublin 66kg operator steps onto the podium later this summer.

“Grainne is a medal prospect. We’ve always known the quality but she has had one setback after another. This girl is not making up the numbers at 66kg, she can win a medal for us,” said the Aussie.

The Path to Paris was long and winding for Walsh. She had to overcome hand injuries, wrestle back the number one spot at 66kg, and bounce back from cruel defeat in the Italian qualifier before going into the last chance saloon in Thailand with the Amy Broadhurst ballad in the background.

Overcoming those obstacles is nearly as impressive as what Walsh did in the ring suggests Heberle.

The former hockey ace also notes how the Tullamore native’s ability to ignore the Broadhurst – who defected to Team GB post Walsh being selected ahead of her – fallout was central to her reaching the Games.

Heberle points out that, once Walsh got clarification she would represent Ireland in Thailand, she put the blinkers on and focused solely on the finish line.

“That was the key for Gráinne, the faith, the faith that she was our number one boxer. There was a little period when she came back [from the first qualifier in Italy] where she would have had a week off and would have been worried about a whole range of things.

“Obviously there was noise and external factors after that but that kid has been so professional. Gráinne the people around her, her family her club, they just stayed focused on getting ready for Bangkok so just a tremendous girl and a tremendous achievement.”

Coach Damien Kennedy was also full of praise for the 28-year-old and her displays in Bangkok.

“I couldn’t pick an area where I would offer constructive criticism, she’s been fantastic and I’m delighted for her.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years