European Games team CONFIRMED


The Olympic Federation of Ireland have today confirmed the athletes that will represent Ireland in the second European Games next month in Minsk.

While the IABA are yet to officially announce the boxing panel for the championships, the OFI have announced a 13-strong squad that will compete in Belarus at the tournament which runs between June 21 and June 30.

The fighters were informed of selection in early May.

The strong squad features World champion Kelly Harrington at lightweight, triple European champion Joe Ward at light heavy, and EU champs Kurt Walker and Michaela Walsh at feather, as well as Commonwealth medallists James McGivern and Brendan Irvine at light welter and flyweight respectively.

Ward, Irvine and Walker have been chosen ahead of reigning national champions Thomas O’Toole, Adam Hession, and Paddy Adamus respectively while Gráinne Walsh is in at welter ahead of Christina Desmond and Michael Nevin has been picked ahead of the injured Gabriel Dossen.

Heavweight Tony Browne has also been selected despite the controversy surrounding his national final with Kenny Okungbowa back in February. Browne was declared the winner on the night but Okungbowa was later awarded the national title.

Also featuring are reigning national champions Aoife O’Rourke, Kieran Molloy, and Dean Gardiner, while

Regan Buckley, who is competing at light flyweight presently, is also in the squad in an encouraging move – considering the 49kg class is no longer part of the Olympic roster.

The weight situation is an interesting one, with the new Olympic men’s weight classes of 57kg and 64kg seemingly being disregarded in favour of the old 56kg and 63kg limits.

The only two weights where Ireland have not sent representation is the women’s flyweight [National champion – Carly McNaul] and men’s lightweight [National champion – David Oliver Joyce]

Ireland claimed four medals at the inaugural 2015 Games in Baku through Katie Taylor, Michael O’Reilly, Brendan Irvine, and Sean McComb.

Team Ireland will field teams in Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Judo and Shooting with a total of 65 athletes from nine sports to compete

Eight of the competitions are part of the Road to Tokyo 2020 qualification process, but boxing is not one.

The tournament was initially believed to be an Olympic qualifier but it then became apparent that the World Championships in Russia would be the sole 2019 qualifier.

However, the bombshell announcement last week that the International Olympic Committee have removed the responsibility of running the boxing tournament in Tokyo away from the AIBA means that the Worlds will not provide a route to the Games – with all qualification to take place in early 2020.

Irish Squad
Regan Buckley (49kg)
Brendan Irvine (52kg)
Kurt Walker (56kg)
Michaela Walsh (57kg)
Kelly Harrington (60kg)
James McGivern (64kg)
Grainne Walsh (69kg)
Kieran Molloy (69kg)
Aoife O’Rourke (75kg)
Michael Nevin (75kg)
Joe Ward (81kg)
Tony Browne (91kg)
Dean Gardiner (+91kg)

dpg

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