Irish Squad Picked for Olympic Qualifiers

Bernard O’Neill IABA Press Officer
The Irish Amateur Boxing  Association have ratified their seven-man squad for the final Olympic qualifier for European male boxers in Trabzon, Turkey in  April.
Paddy Barnes, Michael McDonagh,  Ross Hickey, Adam Nolan, Joe Ward, Tommy McCarthy and Con  Sheehan will line out for Ireland by the banks of the Black  Sea.
All seven retained their titles¬† at the National Elite Championships at Dublin’s National¬† Stadium last Friday night.
Ward beat Ken Egan 29-10 and also  scooped the boxer of the Championships award.
Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin¬† and Darren O’Neill, who also retained their Irish titles at the¬† weekend, have already qualified for the¬† Olympics.
The London-bound trio will take¬† part in Ireland’s intensive preparations for the¬† Turkish qualifiers.
The squad will begin an  8-day training camp in the Curragh on Thursday before heading to Germany for a second training camp and a  final training camp in the Ukraine.
The Irish team will  also compete in the Chemistry Cup Multi Nations which gloves off in  Halle, Germany on March  13.
“We have a very difficult task¬† ahead of us to get some more lads qualified. We’ll start knuckling¬† down to that task and begin the hard work at our¬† training camp in the Curragh this week,” said Irish head coach Billy¬† Walsh.
“As ever in international championships and tournaments, the¬† draw is the key. We might get a bye in a division or two or get a fight that we¬† know we can win and it is important to get off to a good start. The draw is¬† vital, both in Turkey and when we go to the actual¬† Games.”
The final Olympic qualifier for  European male boxers will take place in Trabzon between April 13th and  22nd.
The 2012 AIBA World Women’s¬† Championships in China in May – where Katie Taylor will be aiming for her fourth¬† gold medal in-a-row – will act as the only Olympic qualifier for female¬† boxers.
Irish Squad for final Olympic  qualifier
49Kg: (Light-flyweight) Paddy Barnes  (Holy Family GG)
60Kg: (Lightweight) Michael McDonagh¬† (St Mary’s)
64Kg: (Light-welterweight) Ross Hickey  (Grangecon)
69Kg: (Welterweight) Adam Nolan  (Bray)
81Kg: (Light-heavyweight) Joe Ward  (Moate)
91Kg: (Heavyweight) Tommy McCarthy  (Oliver Plunkett)
91+Kg: (Super-heavyweight)  Con  Sheehan (Clonmel)
Olympic quotas (in brackets) remaining at final Olympic  qualifier for European boxers in Trabzon,  Turkey.
49Kg: Light-flyweight (4)  (Semi-finalists will qualify)
52Kg: Flyweight (3) (Michael Conlan has  qualified in this weight category)
56Kg: Bantamweight (4) (John Joe Nevin  has qualified in this weight category)
60Kg: Lightweight (4) (Semi-finalists  will qualify)
64Kg: Light-welterweight (1) (Gold  medalist will qualify)
69Kg: Welterweight (2) (Finalists will  qualify)
75Kg: Middleweight (2) (Darren O’Neill¬† has qualified in this weight category)
81Kg: Light-heavyweight (3) (Finalists  will qualify, plus whoever loses to the eventual gold medalist in the  semi-finals)
91Kg: Heavyweight (1) (Gold medalist  will qualify)
91+Kg: Super -heavyweight (2)  (Finalists will qualify)

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