It was a case of Captain Fantastic as Bobbi Flood got Ireland back to winning ways in the European Youth Championships in Sofia this evening.
The seven-time Irish champion didn’t allow close quarter-final defeats to Winnie McDonagh, Jim Donovan and John Donoghue affect him and won his first international medal thanks to a confident and quality-packed performance.
The Irish 71kg representative looked in control from start to finish against Mijan Cumac of Germany and secured a deserved victory, a semi-final place and a European bronze medal.
In fact such was the manner of the win that many will be tipping the teen to secure a more precious metal over the coming days. Gold certainly doesn’t look out of the reach for a fighter that led by example with a display so dominant it left the judges no choice but to open passage to the podium for him.
Amazingly Flood will remain youth eligible next year and could compete in the competition again.
Team Ireland have now secured 7 medals, with Flood following Laura Moran, Georgia McGovern, Cliona D’Arcy, Katie O’Keeffe, Patsy Joyce and Dearbhla Tinnelly into the semi finals.
The 17-year-old Dub looked confident and composed from the off. He boxed off an effective jab, stung with backhands and worked the body well when the German looked for respite behind a high guard. So confident was the Irish captain in a round he won across the board that he tried out both stances to see which would prove the most effective.
He stuck to orthodox in the second and it proved the right choice as he moved through the gears to great effect. Flood had mastered the distance and was landing at will on his German counterpart. The jab was again effective, the backhand varied and the bodywork impressive. To his credit, the German was game which seemed enough for two of the five judges to give him the session.
Flood played matador for the majority of the last and on the occasions he held his feet he flirted with securing a stoppage. One particular combination forced the referee to administer a standing eight count to Cumac prompting two fo the five judges to score it 10-8 in his favour.
Gabrielle Monagan was unable to make it eight medals as she lost out to Maely Richols France’s version of Gary Cully.
The Dublin teenager battled to the last against a fighter at least one foot taller than her but while there was plenty of guts there was no glory for the Irish champ.
The fight caught fire once the first punch landed, both fighters let their hands go in a bid to assert dominance. Monagan eventually stood off her much taller foe and tried to walk her onto big shots with big looping lefts landing on occassion. However, Richols was tidy throughout and enjoyed success of her own.
The Whitechurch fighter came ploughing forward in the second trying to a new ploy to negate the height disadvantage. It was bold, brave, entertaining and potentially effective. However, as tiredness set it in it did allow for Richols to get on her toes and pick the Irish fighter off, resulting in her extending her lead.
Monagan went into the last knowing she needed a stoppage and to her credit she went for it, testing her oppoentns chin on a number of occassions but the rangy French champion proved she has the stomach for the fight and made the final bell as well as the semi finals.
There was also no medal Joy for John Donoghue earlier in the evening.
St Michaels Athy fighter hadn’t had things easy in Bulgaria, he had to defeat England and Azerbaijan to get to the the quarter final stage and those fights looked to have taken a toll. The teen talent had the tools to beat a rugid Marwan Mouflihi of France but seemed to tire in the last.
It took seconds of the first round to see another clash of styles lay ahead. The Athy fighter was happy to dance around the ring with his hands down, pot shoting while keeping out of harms way, while his French opponent was continueally looking for work in a more traditional stance. Donaghue looked comfortable and seemed to land the stanza’s best punches but in real ‘what you like’ fashion three of the judges went for Mouflihi.
The second round followed a similar pattern but the irish fighter looked to be busy as well as evasive. He was still getting punished for having his chin in the air on occassion but he looked confident, slick and effective. He did enough to win over one more judge and went into the final session level on two cards up on one and down on two.
Having to force the issue in a decisive third didn’t suit the style of Donaghue and on occassion he was happy just to make the French fighter miss without making him pay. The French champion’s approach made it look like he wanted it want it more and that desire swayed the judges in a tight round
Neilstown’s Winnie McDonagh was unfortunate not to progress in the final Irish bout of the Afternoon session. The European Junior medal winner suffered a split decision defeat to Yulha Filpova of Ukraine.
The fact the Ukrainian was docked a point in the final round meant the pair were level on three of the five cards, McDonagh was ahead on the other two.
As a result, the judges had to choose who they felt deserved to progress and three of the five picked Filpova.
Jim Donovan was also denied the chance to secure a second European medal earlier in the day after he suffered defeat to Kagan Kanlibilge of Turkey. The OLOL fighter won the first round and looked on course to reach the semis but was dragged into a fight by his opponent and eventually lost a scrappy affair.
The Turk came out strong throwing big shots and looking to rough Donovan up. The tactic did hamper the Treaty County man’s flow somewhat but didn’t prevent him from showing his skills. Anytime there was any degree of space between the pair Donovan’s accuracy came to the fore and between clinches his was the quality work landing. One straight left, in particular, seemed to make Kanlibilge think twice about rushing in.
Kanlibilge wasn’t going out without a fight and after losing the first across the board came out determined to get on level terms. The approach inspired a scrappy round with the referee having to interject on more than one occasion leading to Donovan being docked a point.
The Turk was docked a point early in the third and both were warned throughout in yet another round full of holding. When boxing was allowed break out during a wrestling match Donovan appeared to land the better shots but the Turk got the nod, winning via split decision.
Team Ireland Squad
48kg: Georgia McGovern, Setanta
48kg: Patsy Joyce, Olympic
50kg: Katie O’Keefe, Kanturk
51kg: Adam McKenna, Holy Family
52kg: Esther Lambe, Setanta
54kg: Shakira Donoghue, Templemore
54kg: Gavin Ryan, Ratoath
57kg: Yasmin Meredith, Corinthians: Team Captain
57kg: John Donoghue, St Michaels Athy
60kg: Jason Nevin, Olympic
63kg: Winnie McDonagh, Neilstown
63.5kg: Tom McDonnell, Docklands
66kg: Gabrielle Mongan, Whitechurch
67kg: Jim Donovan, Our Lady of Lourdes
70kg: Laura Moran, St Annes
71kg: Bobbi Flood, Cabra: Team Captain.
75kg: Emma Keating, Paulstown
75kg: Joshua Olaniyan, Jobstown
80kg: Ryan Murphy, Neilstown
81kg: Dearbhla Tinnelly, Clann Naofa
81+kg: Cliona Darcy, Tobar Pheadair
86kg: Nathan Ojo, Esker
92kg: David J McDonagh, Olympic
92+kg: Bernie Cawley, St David’s, Naas
R & J: