“I’ve been knocking at the door years” – Harrington happy with European breakthrough


Irish boxing is on the right track according to star lightweight Kelly Harrington.

The Dubliner is back home following her bronze medal win at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

The tournament in Sofia was a special one for Harrington who claimed a third major international medal and a European Championships medal at the third time of asking.

Harrington won two fights before being defeated on an extremely close split-decision in the semi-finals by Finland’s Mira Potkonen in what was a repeat – although much closer – of the 2017 EU Championships final.

“It was a rough tournament with all World class women,” Harrington told Irish-Boxing.com.

“I’ve been knocking at the door years for a European medal, it wasn’t the colour I wanted but it’s better then nothing and I am so happy to bring a medal back for my country and for Irish Boxing.”

“It was a fantastic tournament from start to finish with a great camp on the lead up.”

The 28-year-old St Mary’s talent lives and breathes boxing. While boxing is an individual sport, Harrington is a team player and was heavily invested in the fortunes of the three-woman panel.

It was mission accomplished in Eastern Europe, with Harrington explaining how “we set out to get qualification for European Games next year and the three of us did – the two medals were a bonus.”

“My team mates were outstanding in the tournament, Gráinne Walsh losing out in what we felt was a close fight but more experience gained for the super heavy hitting 69kg Irish champion.”

“Michaela Walsh was tremendous in all her fights showing all the hard work we have put in over the camp come to light when needed and again losing out on a close fight.”

“The coaches Zaur [Antia] and Dima [Dmitruk] were always spot on with there tactics couldn’t ask for two better Irish coaches to be in our corner, My own [club] coach Noel Burke was great while I was out there staying in contact and boosting my confidence all the time, he was delighted with my performances over the course of the week.”

“And Bernard Dunne, the team manager, was great he kept us focused and was on the ball for everything out there and always picking us when we fell down.”

“None of this would be possible without the support from The Irish Sports Council and the Institute of Sport.”

“Irish Boxing is moving in the right direction we just have to trust the process and go with it.”

The Northside fighter leads by example both in the ring and in her community, and added “thanks to the Dublin City Council. I am proud to be an ambassador for the Inner City and hopefully paving the way for other children, teenagers, and adults to follow their dreams.”

Next up is the World Championships in India – and a possible renewed meeting with Potkonen. Harrington exploded into the general sporting public’s consciousness at the last Worlds in 2016 where she won silver at light welterweight and she will be looking to add to her tally again in Delhi.

“For now,” though, she adds, “I have a bit of time off to enjoy eating out and catching up with friends and family before we go again.”

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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