Ireland name small team for European Women’s Championships

The Irish team has been confirmed for next week’s European Women’s Elite Championships in Bulgaria and it is something of a surprise.

The IABA will send just three fighters to the tournament which runs from Monday June 4th to Wednesday June 13th in Sofia.

Belfast featherweight Michaela Walsh, Dublin lightweight Kelly Harrington, and Offaly welterweight Gráinne Walsh will form the compact Irish team.

Michaela Walsh will be looking to continue a great run of form having won EU bantamweight gold last year before moving to 57kg – a new Olympic weight class – and claiming her second Commonwealth Games silver last month.

Harrington won silver at last year’s EUs and silver the year before at light welterweight at the World Championships.

Grainne Walsh, whose welterweight weight class has been added to the Olympic roster, won her first major medal last year when she took bronze at the EUs and followed this up with the Best Boxer award at the 2018 Irish Elite Championships.

The size of the team is something of a disappointment considering that the IABA could have sent up to ten boxers to the championships.

Reigning Irish champions Shannon Sweeney, Céire Smith, Lauren Hogan, Joanne Lambe, Aoife Burke, Aoife O’Rourke, and Nell Fox will not be making the trip to Eastern Europe nor will major medalists such as Kristina O’Hara, Christina Desmond, or Amy Broadhurst.

The tournament takes place in the Bulgarian capital for the second successive edition having previously been scheduled for Poland.

At the last championships, Ireland took home a single medal courtesy of Desmond. However, a team of seven was sent.

Over the years a further seven medals have been claimed, six golds from the legendary Katie Taylor and a bronze for Claire Grace.


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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: