Limerick light-welter Jason Harty and Portlaoise light-heavy Jim O’Reilly upgraded their bronze medals to at least silver at the European Junior Championships in Lviv, Ukraine today.
But Belfast middleweight Anthony Johnston and Waterford light-fly Lorcan Hurley had to settle for bronze after losing out to Germany’s Oronzo Birardi and – controversially – Azerbaijan’s Javid Huseynov.
Harty showed his class to advance at the expense Alen Kastsiukouski of Belarus. A close contest, ultimately Harty’s cleaner shots off both hands secured a place into the 66kg final and a second European medal for the Shannonsider, who won silver at the 2013 European Schoolboy Championships in Dublin.
O’Reilly, seeking to become the second Portlaoise BC man to win a European Junior gold medal after Michael Nevin last year, beat Matej Uremovic. The Croatian had his moments in this contest, but O’Reilly’s power shots and two and three-punch combinations deservedly won the day and a place in the 80kg decider.
Hurley won all three rounds against his talented Azeri opponent in terms of accuracy, punch volume and aggression, but the judges gave the decision to Huseynov , a verdict which was greeted with resounding boos from Irish and neutral fans at the venue. A dominant performance from Hurley.
Irish coach Billy McClean, in a view echoed by Irish team manager Stephen Connolly, said that “there was absolutely no question that the multiple Irish champion won the fight and that they were very proud of his performance.”
The Munster prospect can also take consolation from the standing ovation he received from Irish supporters and neutral fans after today’s three-rounder.
Johnston and Birardi were evenly matched in terms of height and reach. The first round was difficult for the judges to score, with both boxers finding the target from range near the end of the frame. Johnston took the second with the majority of the cleaner and solid shots, but the German middle edged the third to shade victory.
Johnston showed exemplary sportsmanship after the final bell to hold down the rope for his opponent to exit the ring, a time-honoured tradition in boxing.
“All of our boxers gave it everything today and they can be proud of their performances. The coaching staff once again did an excellent job today,” said Stephen Connolly.
Billy McClean, Jim McDaid and Dmitri Dmitruk are working Ireland’s corner in Lviv.
Team Ireland are due to arrive home via Dublin Airport at 1:35pm on Sunday afternoon.
2015 European Junior Championships Lviv, Ukraine
May 16th Prelims
57kg Eric Nash (Ireland) beat Guiseppe Ferik (Italy) 2-1
May 17th Prelims
48kg Lorcan Hurley (Ireland) beat Tony Orr (Scotland) 3-0
63kg Aaron Gethins (Ireland) beat Catalin Bitcha (Moldova) 3-0
69kg Jordan Myers (Ireland) lost to Yahor Skamavakh (Belarus) 0-3
75kg Anthony Johnston (Ireland) beat William Gustafsson (Sweden) 3-0
80kg Jim O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Jess Harris (England) 3-0
80+kg Martin McDonagh (Ireland) beat Josip Biletic (Croatia) 2-1
May 18th (12pm)
46kg Zach Mallon (Ireland) lost to Kanan Avilev (Azerbaijan) 1-2
50kg Sean Whelan (Ireland) beat Vzdzim Nenadavets (Belarus) 3-0
52kg Aaron McKenna (Ireland) lost to Taras Bandarachuk (Ukraine) 0-3
May 18th (4pm)
54kg Callum Bradley (Ireland) lost to Artur Szachbazian (Czech Rep) 0-3
60kg Michael Avetisian (Ireland) lost to Tugrulhan Erdemr (Turkey) 0-3
48k Lorcan Hurley (Ireland) beat Pasquale di Silvio (Italy) 3-0
57kg Eric Nash (Ireland) lost to Artur Tuniev (Belarus) 0-3
66kg Jason Harty (Ireland) beat Yevhen Moskalenko (Ukraine) 3-0
50kg Sean Whelan (Ireland) lost to Thomas Roberts (England) 0-3
63kg Aaron Gethins (Ireland) lost to Artem Lapin (Ukraine) 0-3
66kg Jason Harty (Ireland) beat Daniel Levin (Israel) 3-0
75kg Anthony Johnston (Ireland) beat Yevheni Pavlowskyi (Ukraine) 3-0
80kg Jim O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Vadzim Andreyev (Belarus) 2-1
80+kg Martin McDonagh (Ireland) lost to Oleksandr Hrytsiv (Ukraine) 0-3
48kg Lorcan Hurley (Ireland) lost to Javid Huseynov (Azerbaijan) 1-2
66kg Jason Harty (Ireland) beat Alen Kastsiukouski (Belarus) 2-1
75kg Anthony Johnston (Ireland) lost to Oronzo Birardi (Germany) 1-2
80kg Jim O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Matej Uremovic (Croatia) 3-0
66kg Jason Harty (Ieland) v Eryk Apresyan (Poland)
80kg Jim O’Reilly (Ireland) v Arkadii Kartsan (Ukraine)
46kg Zach Mallon (Old School)
48kg Lorcan Hurley (Tramore) (Bronze)
50kg Sean Whelan (Docklands)
52kg Aaron McKenna (Old School)
54kg Callum Bradley (Sacred Heart Omagh)
57kg Eric Nash (Ardnaree)
60kg Michael Avetisian (Mulhuddart)
63kg Aaron Gethins (Ballinacarrow)
66kg Jason Harty (Rathkeale) (Silver, at least)
70kg Jordan Myers (St Pats, Dromahair)
75kg Anthony Johnston (Gleann) (Bronze)
80kg Jim O’Reilly (Portlaoise) (Silver, at least)
80+kg Martin McDonagh (Baldoyle)
Team manager: Stephen Connolly
Coaches: Billy McClean, Gerry McDaid, Dmitri Dmitruk
Physio: Eoin Naughton
R&J: Philip Rooney