O’Reilly controversy not hampering Team Ireland says Donnelly

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After two impressive performances and two wins for Ireland’s Olympic boxers it looks like the furore surrounding Micheal O’Reilly and his alleged failed drug test certainly hasn’t had a negative effect on Team Ireland in Rio.

And if that isn’t proof enough Stephen Donnelly said as much in Brazil yesterday.

Ballymena’s Donnelly got Ireland off to a winning start at the Games progressing quite comfortably into the last 16 of the welterweight division with an unanimous win over Algerian opponent Zohir Kedache.

Post-fight the 27 year old fielded expected questions on O’Reilly, who has been provisionally suspended for failing a dope test, and insisted the controversy was not affecting the High Performance team.

Indeed, Donnelly went as far as to label it ‘old news’ and kept to ‘control the controllables’ mantra the Irish boxers often relay.

“No not really, it’s just old news for us now, we each have to concentrate on our own game,” said Donnelly.

“What happens, happens. That’s what we’re working for. We’re all concentrating on our own games and doesn’t affect us at all really. We’re a strong team and we know how to deal with these situations.

“We’re all fine, we’re all cheering together, watching TV, on our phones, just messing around – what we usually do.”

“Just concentrating maybe a couple of hours before a fight, that’s what we do to get focused. Team morale’s fantastic, it’s great.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years