National Under-22 Championships – FINALS PREVIEW


Following the conclusion of the Ulster Elite Senior Championships last Saturday, top quality Irish amateur boxing continues on Friday night with the finals of the National U22 Championships.

The National Stadium in Dublin will play host to 15 deciders in what will be the 2019 curtain-raiser at the home of Irish boxing ahead of the Senior Elites next month.

A stellar line-up this year sees underage stars, Tokyo tips, Intermediate champs breaking through, and a handful of fighters that graced the Ulster Hall last weekend.

Below Irish-Boxing.com goes through all 15 finals match-ups to get you clued-in ahead of the big night.

Women’s Light Flyweight – 48kg
Courtney Daly (Crumlin) v Ciara Walsh (Smithfield)
Daly was runner-up last year to Shannon Sweeney but would finally make her adult breakthrough in November when she claimed the Intermediate title. Multi Irish underage titlist Walsh is making the step into adult ranks for this Dublin derby.

Men’s Light Flyweight – 49kg
Jack O’Neill (Corpus Christi) v Regan Buckley (St Teresa’s
Belfast’s O’Neill claimed the Ulster Senior title on Saturday. The 18 year old looked impressive against Rory Baird but faces a big test in Bray’s Buckley. A former 2-0 pro and Elite runner-up, Buckley will be looking for his first Irish title since returning to the amateurs and having taken top prize at Haringey during the summer.

Women’s Flyweight – 51kg
Caitlin Fryers (Immaculata) v Niamh Early (Ryston)
A great match-up between two former underage stars and Intermediate champions. World Youth bronze winner Fryers came out second-best to the experienced Carly McNaul in the Ulsters last week and will be looking to get back to winning ways following the rare defeat. World Junior silver medallist Early will want to retain her U22 title ahead of another assault on the Elites having finished runner-up last year.

Men’s Flyweight – 52kg
Adam Hession (Monivea) v Mark Corcoran (Corinthians)

Galway’s Hession looked extremely impressive in claiming the Intermediate title in November and caught the eye of many in his exhibition bout with Ulster champion Ricky Nesbitt on Saturday. Dubliner Corcoran finished runner-up here last year before moving up to bantamweight and, now, back down.

Women’s Bantamweight – 54kg
Orinta Ringyte (Riverstown)
has been awarded the title on a walkover.

Men’s Bantamweight – 56kg
John Paul Hale (Star) v Colm Murphy (St George’s)
The Belfast pair put on the fight of the night on Saturday at the Ulsters, with Hale winning out. The massive-punching Star man decked Murphy heavily in the opener before a sensational comeback from the St George’s man who had Hale out on his feet in the final round. An incredible fight, it would be unfair to expect a repeat of this… but here’s hoping.

Women’s Featherweight – 57kg
Mary Geraghty (St Anthony’s) has been awarded the title on a walkover.

Women’s Lightweight – 60kg
Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan) V Isobella Hughes (Mount Tallant)

World Championships 64kg quarter-finalist Broadhurst is back down at the weight where she won last year’s title and European U22 gold and is very much the woman to beat. Hughes, too, is dropping down from light welter having finished runner-up there at the Intermediates.

Men’s Lightweight – 60kg
Patryk Adamus (Drimnagh) V David Oliver  Joyce (Ballymun)

Adamus picked up this title last year and the Intermediate crown in November. A move to feather has been mooted but he will remain at lightweight for now. Navan’s Joyce looked simply incredible at the Under-18s last year where he beat current pro James Power, this looks to be a great match-up.

Women’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Shauna O’Callaghan (Clann Naofa)
has been awarded the title on a walkover.

Men’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Matthew McCole (Dungloe) v Pierce O’Leary (Docklands)
Stepping into the adult ranks, Dubliner O’Leary has been the star of the championships thus far, attracting a lot of attention. ‘Big Bang’ faces the experienced McCole in the decider and the Donegal man will be looking to go one better than last year when he finished runner-up to Kenneth Doyle.

Women’s Welterweight – 69kg
Clodagh Greene (Crumlin) V Elice Elliott (South Meath)
Greene took the Intermediate title in November and the Dublin slugger will be aiming to add another here against Under-18 champion Elliott.

Men’s Welterweight – 69kg
Aaron Daly (Castlebar) V Patrick Donovan (OLOL)
Mayo’s Daly faces a fairly substantial task versus reigning champion Donovan in what is a repeat of an under-18 final a few years back. Daly will be confident though having claimed a win over Michael Kinsella in the semis, reversing a loss from last year’s Intermediates – which were won eventually by Tokyo 2020 hopeful Donovan.

Women’s Middleweight – 75kg
Renee Roche (Castlebar) V Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)

European U22 silver medallist O’Rourke defeated former underage star Lauren Kelly in the semis and now faces Roche – who finished runner-up in the Intermediates to Kelly.

Men’s Middleweight – 75kg
John Joe Nevin (Crumlin) V Gabriel Dossen (Olympic)

Reigning champion Dossen was pretty sensational throughout 2018 and is gunning for the main Irish middleweight spot. Like Paddy Donovan, he is being tipped for Tokyo, and will want a win here to build towards next month’s Elites. Nevin is no mug, though, having defeated former European Junior champion Edward Donovan, younger brother of Paddy, in the semi-finals.

Women’s Light Heavyweight – 81kg
No Entries

Men’s Light Heavyweight – 81kg
Sean Conroy (Castlebar) V Kelyn Cassidy (St Saviours/Crystal)
A fight which looks set to be a war. World Junior bronze medallist Conroy throws huge shots relentlessly while Cassidy always seems to be in bloody battles. Another dimension here is that Cassidy is close friends with fellow Waterford puncher Rhys Moran who was extremely unhappy to have lost in the semis to Conroy.

Women’s Heavyweight – +81kg
Nell Fox (Rathkeale) has been awarded the title on a walkover.

Men’s Heavyweight – 91kg
Kevin Sheehy (St Francis) V Thomas Maughan (Cavan)
Limerick’s Sheehy is looking to retain his title and set up a charge on the Elites. Now a year older and more mature, he is a force to be reckoned with amidst . 2017 U18 champ Maughan is a good fighter too, and was a semi-finalist at both the U22s and Intermediates in his first year of adult boxing.

Men’s Super Heavyweight – +91kg
Luke Hall (Crumlin) V Gytis Lisinskas (Celtic Eagles)

Galway-Lithuanian Lisinskas claimed the Intermediate title and is rapidly improving since his move from kickboxing last year. Newcomer Hall will be looking to claim his first big title and his team will be very familiar with Lisinskas having seen him defeat clubmate James Clarke in the semis.

First bell on Friday night is at 6:30pm.

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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