I’ve picked the spirits up again, we’re still in this competition says Donnelly

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Michael O’Reilly’s failed drugs test, a shock loss for Paddy Barnes, and then another for Joe Ward. It has been a far from perfect start for the Irish boxers at the Rio Olympics.

Thankfully today Ballymena welterweight got Ireland back to winning ways with victory in his last 16 bout with Mongolia’s Tüvshinbat Byamba, and Donnelly, the biggest medal outsider with the bookies before the Games, has become something of a surprise inspiration during a dramatic first week for the Irish boxers.

Having had a tumultuous journey himself in qualifying for, and indeed in the years before, these Games, Donnelly has performed brilliantly in Brazil in his two fights so far.

Speaking to RTÉ following his win this afternoon, the All Saints star acknowledged his morale-boosting performances at the Riocentro

Donnelly noted how “the first time I was the first boxer up so I needed to raise the spirits of the camp up and get the ball rolling”

“I’ve done that, and now after the bit of bad luck the past few days I’ve picked the spirits up again.”

“And now it’s on to wee Brendan Irvine on Saturday and then Mick Conlan and Katie Taylor.”

“We’re still in this competition and we’re gonna be there right until the end.”

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