20 February 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Darren ONeill is desperately hoping that his wait for an Irish Senior title at the National Stadium on Friday night.
The Paulstown boxer will meet Stephen OReilly in the middleweight final and, after seeing off Eamon OKane in the semi-finals, ONeill is a heavy favourite to prevail.
However, given some of the misfortune which has befallen him in the past, ONeill is taking nothing for granted.
“No matter who you get in the ring with, whether its a novice or a world champion, you have to show them respect. And it only takes one punch for any fight change, the Kilkenny ace told irish-boxing.com.
“And besides, Ive not had much look in the seniors. I had Kenny Egan the first two years when I was only breaking into the Seniors and that was pretty daunting but it was great experience.
Then, a couple of years back when I thought that I had a real chance I broke a thumb the Friday before the finals.
And last year, of course, I had Darren Sutherland, so it’s taken the best in the world to beat me. But please God I can join them as a national champion this year.”
Still, ONeill has taken a huge amount of confident out of his 11-4 success over Immaculata ace OKane.
“Eamon’s a very good boxer, a European medallist so that speaks for itself, he pointed out.
And I suppose it’s only natural that when the draw comes out that you have a look at who’s on your side of the draw, so I knew I’d probably have to face him and I knew itd be a great battle, so it was brilliant to beat him.