Sophie Curley Gray’s international debut proved an extremely memorable one.
The Louth prospect produced a sensational performance to secure a European medal in her first-ever bout at a major International tournament.
Curley Gray showed fight and flair as she powered her way onto the European Junior Championships podium in Italy this afternoon.
The emerging talent proved to have too much for Claudia Aparici Alcaniz, whitewashing Spain’s representative to secure 46kg bronze at the very least.
The Dealgan fighter pressed the action in the first round, picking some nice shots and letting her hands go when she backed her opponent up against the ropes. She was rewarded for her dominance by the judges, who all scored it 10-9 in her favour.
The Spaniard attempted to hold centre ring in the second stanza, allowing the young Irish fighter to show her counterpunching credentials. The latest fighter to emerge from Louth put her foot down for the last 40 seconds of the second stanza and overwhelmed her foe to such an extent one judge afforded her a 10-8 round.
With a clear lead, Curley Grayonly had to avoid being stopped to step on the podium and was told as much by her corner. She took to the back foot but showed enough skill and accuracy to win the round and thus the fight and a medal.
The victory increases Ireland’s European Junior Championships medal haul to five. Curley Gray joins Grace Conway, Niamh Keogh, Mary McDonagh and Ava Henry in the semi finals.
Sarah Murphy and Jodie Byrne will look to increase the medal total this evening.
Team Ireland Squad
The team captains are Cherry Orchard’s Charlie Valabergs and Dublin Docklands’ Ava Henry.
1. 44-46kg Alfie Jordan (Olympic L)
2. 48kg Jamie Collins (Drimnagh)
3. 50kg Calvin Doyle (Olympic L)
4. 52kg Johnny Harty (Portlaoise)
5. 54kg James Kelly (Holy Trinity)
6. 57kg Callum Carrager (Tredagh)
7. 60kg Ryan Jenkins (Olympic L)
8. 63kg Cillian Reilly (Jobstown)
9. 66kg Tadhg O’Donnell (Four Kings)
10. 70kg Charlie Valbergs (Cherry Orchard). Team Captain,
11. 75kg Dylan McShane (St Pauls A)
12. 80kg Jack Teggart Weatherall (St Pauls A)
13. 80+kg Adam Olaniyan (Jobstown)
1. 44-46kg Sophie Curley Gray (Dealgan)
2. 50kg Grace Conway (Tredagh)
3. 52kg Carlagh Peake (Ballyhaunis)
4. 54kg Niamh Keogh (Olympic L)
5. 57kg Siofra Lawless (Liberty)
6. 60kg Ava Henry (Docklands) Team Captain,
7. 63kg Kayleigh Whelan (Avona)
8. 66kg Sarah Murphy (St Brigids L)
9. 70kg Jodie Byrne (St Teresa’s)
10. 75kg Mary McDonagh (Sliabh Luachra)
11. 80kg Shauna Crehan (Dunboyne)
1. Ralph McKay
2. Liam Cunningham
3. Paul O’Toole
4. Linda Morgan