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LIVE UPDATES: 2021 National Elite Senior Finals Night

The biggest day of the Irish amateur boxing calendar is upon us.

The National Elite finals – or ‘The Seniors’ – take place in Dublin this evening with 24 Irish boxing champions set to be crowned.

Moved to today instead of the traditional Friday night slot due to the expanded number of weight categories, it is going to be a marathon of boxing on the South Circular Road with 21 fights in all – Jake Rapple [bantam], Amy Broadhurst [light], and Aoife O’Rourke [middle] have all received walkover wins.

While fans and media cannot be in attendance, TG4 will air each and every bout, with a YouTube livestream beginning at 5pm before a switch to the main channel at 7:15pm.


We will be watching each and every bout posting updates on each of them as the night progresses.

Refresh page to see live updates below:

Kelyn Cassidy (Saviours Crystal, Waterford) beat Tommy Hyde (St Michael’s Athy, Kildare) RSC1 – Men’s Light Heavyweight 80kg
That is sensational! Cassidy scores three counts and IT’S ALL OVER. What a way to win your first Elite title. Hyde just didn’t get a chance to get going. Now that is a way to put your name in the hat.

Kieran Molloy (Oughterard, Galway) ​beat Luke Maguire (Esker, Dublin) UD – Men’s Light Middleweight 71kg
The tricky Maguire made it a fight but EU bronze medallist Molloy still landed plenty of heavy shots in a feisty contest, the extra couple of kilos up from welter suiting him well. With Olympic bronze medallist not recovering from his fractured foot in time for this tournament, Molloy could grasp an opportunity at the Worlds in Serbia later this month.

Evelyn Igharo (Clann Naofa, Louth) beat Lisa O’Rourke (Castlerea, Roscommon) UD  – Women’s Light Middleweight 70kg
As expected, it was a slugfest. Igharo landed some huge shots early but both tired badly. O’Rourke dug in but Igharo continued to push forward and finished especially strong to seal a second Elite title, two weights up from her win last time out.

Eugene McKeever (Holy Family, Louth) beat Wayne Kelly (Ballynacargy, Westmeath) SD 4-1 – Men’s Welterweight 67kg
A tactical, high-quality affair, there was little to separate these two. Kelly was on the front foot for most of the bout but the sharper shots of McKeever caught the eyes of a majority of the judges ringside who awarded the Armagh man a maiden Irish elite title.

Brandon McCarthy (Athy, Kildare) â€‹beat Jack McGivern (St.George’s, Antrim) UD – Men’s Light Welterweight 63.5kg
A cagey clash between two familiar foes, 2020 lightweight champ McCarthy was just a quarter-step ahead all fight and took a unanimous decision, remaining undefeated in Irish championships all the way up from Boy 1. While the Kilkenny youngster was impressive in claiming his second Elite title, Euro U22 champion Dean Clancy was a late withdrawal from this tournament so selection for the world could be very interesting.

Jennifer Lehane (DCU, Dublin) ​beat Kellie McLoughlin (Drimnagh, Dublin) UD – Women’s Featherweight 57kg
The shadow of Michaela Walsh loomed large, with the Belfast Olympian in the commentary box, but there was still quite the story as pre-tournament outsider Lehane boxed the perfect gameplan to frustrate and outland the bigger McLoughlin and take a unanimous decision win.

John Paul Hale (Star, Antrim) â€‹â€‹beat Dominic Bradley (Emerald, Antrim) UD – Men’s Lightweight 60kg
JP Hale really grew into this contest, overpowering Bradley in the second and, especially, third rounds. An enjoyable fight to watch, double Ulster champion Hale has certainly ‘lockdowned’ well and now has a maiden Irish Elite title to add to his medal collection. Although he is certainly a ‘suited to the pros’ fighter, Hale will be targeting the Worlds and the Commonwealths next year – while the skilful Bradley will be hoping for revenge in the Ulsters at the end of the year.

Sara Haghightat-Joo (St.Brigid’s, Offaly) beat Niamh Fay (Ballyboughal, Dublin) SD 3-2 – Women’s Bantamweight 54kg
European Youth champion Niamh Fay looks to be one for the future and performed admirably versus the top Canadian but Haghighat-Joo was just too experienced. The PanAmerican Championships silver medallist was able to time inside the rangy Fay’s long shots to land heavy hooks of her own. Haghighat-Joo, probably the fighter of the championships, took the bout on a surprising split-decision and, if she can compete for Ireland at the Worlds, we could have a medal hope.

Adam Hession (Monivea, Galway) beat Sean Purcell (Saviours Crystal, Waterford) UD – Men’s Featherweight 57kg
European U22 silver medallist during the Summer, Hession is building into a strong featherweight and had too much for Purcell here. The wiry Wexford boxer was competitive and he tried to keep it long but Hession was able to chop his way through to land hard shots and grow as the bout progressed. In the end it was a second Elite title for Hession on a unanimous decision and, with Kurt Walker’s future in the amateur game unsure, things could now get very interesting.

Daina Moorehouse (Enniskerry, Wicklow) beat Niamh Earley (Ryston, Kildare) â€‹â€‹UD – Women’s Flyweight 52kg
48kg champion last time out, Moorehouse had taken a stretch but was still the smaller woman here versus High Performance fixture Earley. The Wicklow wonder raided well but Earley, a decorated underage fighter herself, looked strong inside. An extremely close clash of styles, the cleaner punches of Moorehouse won out with the judges who awarded her the bout unanimously and she becomes a two-weight Elite champion.

Caitlin Fryers (Immaculata, Antrim) â€‹beat Nicole Clyde (Antrim, Antrim) UD – Women’s Light Flyweight 50kg
Former underage star Fryers claimed her first Elite title, negotiating the length of Clyde. No longer the baby of the division, Fryers was too strong, getting inside to rip in hooks and drag Clyde into deep waters. One of the best fights of the night, Fryers looks powerfully fit to the reduced 50kg division.

Paddy McShane (Letterkenny, Donegal) beat Paudraic Downey (St.John Bosco, Antrim) 3-2 SD – Men’s Flyweight 51kg
McShane was just too big and too sharp for Downey in this battle of Ulster newcomers. Pre-tournament favourite Sean Mari was forced to pull out to compete in the World Military Championships (where he won bronze) and McShane, fighting in his first Seniors, stepped up to the plate to put himself in the frame with a well-deserved win – with the 3-2 judges split perhaps being closer than what most saw.

Shannon Sweeney (St. Anne’s, Mayo) beat Carol Coughlan (Monkstown, Dublin) UD – Women’s Pinweight 48kg
The classic boxer versus fighter match-up – and a fifth one at that in less than four years – Sweeney was one again just that little bit too sharp and skilled for Carlow’s Coughlan. A tight fight, Sweeney’s boxing and footwork won her a second Elite title.

7:15pm – And we’re live on TG4. Some great fights still to come!

6:55pm – That is the end of the YouTube-streamed portion of the night. Boxing will resume at 7:15pm on TG4.

Martin Keenan (Rathkeale, Limerick) beat Thomas Maughan (Cavan, Cavan) â€‹3-2 SD – Men’s Super Heavyweight +92kg
Both had caused shocks in the earlier rounds, with Keenan eliminating reigning champ Kenneth Okungbowa and Maughan shocking High Performance favourite Gytis Lisinskas, but there was little drama here in what was a messy fight. Southpaw Keenan had just too much nous for Maughan, picking the bigger man off from the backfoot to claim a second Elite title.

Jack Marley (Monkstown, Dublin) beat Marcin Skalski (Athlone, Westmeath) UD – Men’s Heavyweight 92kg
Baby Jack Marley threw bombs from the start, backing Skalski to the ropes and giving an early count as well as making Ken Egan purr in the analysis booth. Not afraid to trade, the 18-year-old slugged to the body as the brave and bruised Skalski attempted to stay in there. A doctor inspection at the end of the second for Skalski’s damaged eyes may have brought an end to the bout but it went into the third and Marley coasted his way to his first Elite title. The Euro U22 bronze medallist becomes the second-youngest Irish heavyweight champion after Con Sheehan and a bright future awaits. Whether he or the more-established Kirill Afanasev, who withdrew from this tournament, goes to the World Championships later this month will be a very big decision.

Darren O’Neill (Paulstown, Kilkenny) beat Faolain Rahill (DCU, Dublin) â€‹UD – Men’s Cruiserweight 86kg
36 years of age, four years out, chasing his eighth Elite title – you know all the numbers and Darren O’Neill completed his fairytale as he defeated the rangey Rahill. Sneaking southpaw shots crept through in the opener, deterring Rahill before a right hand knocked the DCU man off balance. Rahill responded well in the second, upping his activity and making things difficult for O’Neill but the Olympian rounded out the third with some lovely combination punching to seal the deal and become the oldest male AIBA-era Elite champion.

Bethany Doocey (Castlebar, Mayo) beat Nell Fox (Rathkeale, Limerick) UD â€‹- Women’s Light Heavyweight 81kg
The smaller, younger, Doocey was right on top of Fox from the start as the Limerick woman attempted to establish her long jab. Needing a change, Fox came out aggressive in the second as the pair traded bombs. Doocey, though, had the far faster hands and was able to punish Fox as she came in. A three-time champion, Fox went out swinging in what was a very good fight overall but there’s a new light heavyweight chief in town as Doocey claimed a deserved unanimous decision win.

Kaci Rock (Enniskerry, Wicklow) beat Keisha Attwell (Tobair Pheadair, Galway) RSC3Women’s Welterweight 66kg
Kaci Rock was right on top from the start and wasn’t looking to hang around. Upping the fight in the second, Rock beat the ambition out of Attwell, forcing a count, and the fight would not see the final bell as two more counts in the third gave Kaci a stoppage win. Youngster Rock, daughter of ‘The Pink Panther’ Jim, is definitely an exciting addition to the Elite welter scene. Now down from 69kg to 66kg, it’s a class in transition as reigning welterweight champion Christina Desmond has moved up to the new 70kg light middleweight division while European Games and EU bronze medallist Grainne Walsh was forced to pull out through injury.

Eve Woods (Corinthians, Dublin) beat Gillian Duffy (St Mary’s, Dublin) UD – Women’s Light Welterweight 63kg
Veteran Duffy hd a decent reach advantage on Woods but the inner-city youngster quickly got inside and lands some bombs. Duffy’s straight shots did pierce the defences of the aggressive Woods but she perhaps could have taken counts herself in the opening rounds as she shipped heavy-looking punches. Duffy came back well in the third, timing Woods to a degree but the the teen talent had enough banked to take a unanimous decision win – an Elite title in what was Woods’s first adult fight.

Gabriel Dossen (Olympic, Galway) beat Sean Donaghy (St Canice’s, Derry) UD – Men’s Middleweight 75kg
Dossen one of the star names today so it was a bit of a surprise he was on so early – suggestions that the competitiveness of this fight contributed to that but Donaghy, to his credit, fought hard for someone who has never competed at this level. Dossen, though, had far too much for his fellow southpaw, tagging Donaghy at will. Derryman Donaghy tried to press the action but opening up left him vulnerable to the quicker and sharper Dossen. Ending with a flourish, Dossen upped the intensity, forcing two counts but Donaghy managed to see the final bell. A wide unanimous decision winner, Dossen, 22 next month, picked up his second Elite title and reclaims the middleweight crown having missed the 2020 tournament (held in late 2019) due to injury.

5:05pm – Yes, there’s Ricky Nesbitt picking up his certificate and trophy. Third final and he finally has an Elite title. Gabriel Dossen v Sean Donaghy up now.

5:03pm – We are live! To my shame, my Gaeilge isn’t great but I think Ricky Nesbitt may have won this title on a walkover. More to follow.

5:00pm – The live stream has begun, the actual live feed has not. First up when we do eventually get going will be the Men’s light flyweight division, Ricky Nesbitt v Caoimhin Logue.

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: