MEDAL UPGRADE – Brilliant Tadhg O’Donnell strides into European Junior final

Tadhg O’Donnell showed just why he is starting to be talked about as one of Ireland’s best-emerging talents.

The Four Kings BC fighter reigned supreme in his European Junior Championships semi-final, putting in a masterclass against the home fighter.

Itlay’s Francesco Savarese struggled to lay a glove on the Irish prospect and ate his fair share of leather while trying.

O’Donnell won every round across the board to secure a unanimous points victory, upgrade his bronze to silver and move into Tuesday’s final.

The win was Ireland’s fourth of an action-packed day, Grace Conway also secured her place in a final as did Niamh Keogh and Ava Henry, while Sofie Curley and Alfie Jordan have to settle for bronze after defeats to Turkey and England respectively.

O’Donnell was matador extraordinaire to the Italian bull in the first round. He was virtually untouchable evading all danger while digging his own daggers in throughout. One bolo body punch caught the eye, while his footwork to avoid a lunging right hand that left the Italian leaning over the ropes summed up the stanza.

The Prince of the Four Kings club was check hooking for fun in the second and full of confidence. The Irish team, who have been vocal throughout cheering every landed shot. It wasn’t quite make Savaresse miss and then make him pay from the Irish fighter, more hit and not get hit, as the 66kg fighter landed and exited without being touched.

Other than Aidan Walsh there is possibly no other Irish fighter more equipped to hold onto a two round lead than O’Donnell and he did just that in the third. Unlike the Olympic medal winner, the Greystones fighter held his feet somewhat and let some combinations go, but he was still evasive en route to winning the third session.

Team Ireland Squad

Male Boxers:

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)

Female Boxers

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)

Team Manager

Martin Fennessy

Coaches

1. Ralph McKay

2. Liam Cunningham

3. Paul O’Toole

4. Linda Morgan

Referee/Judge

Philip Hollowed

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com