National U22 Championships – Men’s Finals PREVIEW

The Men’s National Under-22 Championships conclude tomorrow evening at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Ten champions will be crowned at the home of Irish boxing in what promises to be an exciting and high-quality night of fighting.

While the winners are not guaranteed selection for the Irish squad that will travel to the European Under-22s in Romania in March, the results tomorrow will play a massive part in squad selection.

Action on the South Circular Road begins at 6:30pm
Entry: €10 (adults), €5 (children)

Below, Irish-Boxing.com go though each final pairing.

Light Flyweight (49kg)
Darryl Moran (Illies GG) V Jordan Leahy (Urlingford)
Both boxers received straight byes to the final of the lightest weight category. Donegal fighter Moran was a semi finalist in the last Senior Elites while Kilkenny’s Leahy comes into the bout in good form having taken top prize at Youth level in last year’s Celtic Box Cup.

Flyweight (52kg)
Jason McKay (Holy Family GG) V Jordan Moore (Glasnevin)
Belfast’s McKay was a semi finalist in the most recent Senior Elites, while Moore is making the step up from the underage ranks where he recently competed in the World Youth Championships. Rangey Dubliner Moore defeated Leigh Moran of Illies GG in the semis, while McKay overcame Corinthians fighter Mark Corcoran to reach the final – both results were split decisions.

Bantamweight (56kg)
Jack Kelly (Cherry Orchard) V James McGivern (St Georges)
An intriguing match-up, McGivern defeated the Dubliner on an inter-county show earlier this month – a bout which Kelly took on a day’s notice. Dubliner Kelly received a bye to the final here, while Commonwealth Youth gold and European Youth silver medalist McGivern defeated good friend Shane Flavin in the semis in what a tight contest.

Lightweight (60kg)
Martin Sammon (Olympic Galway) V Dylan Duffy (Pegasus)
The Olympic club in Galway certainly churns out top talents at 60kg and 64kg, with the Cleary brothers and Gabriel Dossen impressing in recent times. ‘Booie’ defeated Offaly’s Stephen Mooney in the semis while his Pegasus opponent outpointed Baldoyle’s Stephen Lockhart. Southpaw Duffy was defeated by Sammon’s clubmate Frankie Cleary in the Senior (Intermediate) Championships final, but the stylish Down boxer was impressive against the fearsome puncher and will be gunning for Olympic revenge.

Light Welterweight (64kg)
Caoimhin Ferguson (Gleann) V Keith Flavin (Paulstown)
Kilkenny veteran Flavin has done it all, competing in Senior Elite Championships and major international tournaments for Ireland at underage level. En-route to the final he has defeated Jack Phelan and Mosa Kambule. Belfast’s Ferguson has caught the attention of many knowledgeable fans in the Titanic City and is being tipped to make an impact in the coming years. One of the stand-out fighters in a recent Antrim v Cork inter-county fight night, Ferguson carried this form into the Championships with wins over Evan Fitzgerald and Matthew McCole.

Welterweight (69kg)
John Maughan (St Marys Dublin) V Eugene McKeever (Holy Family Drogheda)
Dubliner Maughan was a semi finalist at the recent Senior (Intermediate) Championships and has defeated both Patrick McConigley and Martin Stokes to reach the final here. Stylish Armagh boxer McKeever claimed top prize at 64kg in the Senior (Intermediates) and has stepped up in weight here, beating Dan Houlihan in the semi finals.

Middleweight (75kg)
Kelyn Cassidy (Saviours Crystal) V Martin Collins (Darndale)
While Waterford’s Cassidy is a novice in terms of experience, he impressed at the Senior (Intermediate) Championships, where he was edged out in the final. The Déise boxer has yet to fight in the Under-22s, receiving a bye to the semis and subsequently receiving a walkover from the injured Michael Nevin. Dubliner Collins on the other hand comes into the bout sharp and in great form having already fought twice, defeating Senior (Intermediate) welterweight runner-up Thomas O’Toole and Whitchurch’s Sean McGuirke.

Light Heavyweight (81kg)
Brian Kennedy (St Mary’s Daingean) v Wayne Rafferty (St Cianan’s)
National Senior (Intermediate) champion Kennedy is a skillful boxer and a decorated underage star. In the semi-finals to Offaly boxer took a split decision win over experienced Tony Browne – a decision hugely disputed by the Dubliner and his followers. Duleek fighter Rafferty has stepped down from heavyweight and beaten both Simon Bangu and Dylan Devine in the earlier rounds.

Heavyweight (91kg)
Cormac Long (Rathkeale) V Geoffrey Kavanagh (Glasnevin)
One of the match-ups of the night, the fight pits the 2016 and 2014 Intermediate champs against each other. Limerick fighter Long was a dominant force at underage level, winning ten national titles and he reached the final here with a split-decision win over Belfast boxer Pearse McDonnell. Kavanagh brings huge experience to the table, and the Dubliner took top prize at the last Under-22 Championships which took place way back in 2013. This time round he defeated underage star and World Youth Championships participant Kevin Sheehy to reach the decider.

Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
Cian O’Shaughnessy (Rathkeale) V Thomas Carty (Glasnevin)
Limerick’s O’Shaughnessy has made the step up to super heavy for the tournament and received a bye straight to the final. Dubliner Carty was a runner-up in the most recent Senior Elites and has defeated John McDonald of Crumlin to reach the final of these championships.

Irish-Boxing.com would like to wish the best of luck to all the boxers in action tomorrow night

Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show:

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