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Revised Irish multi nations squad – Injury rules Grainne Walsh out of Standja and Olympic qualifier

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A thumb injury has ruled Spartacus fighter Grainne Walsh out of the upcoming Strandja Multi Nations tournament and the European Olympic qualifiers.

The Tullamore fighter was beaten by Cork’s Christina Desmond in last years National Elite Championship 69kg final, but had been handed the chance to stake a Tokyo claim and earn Olympic qualifier pole when she was selected alongside Desmond to compete in Bulgaria next week.

The women’s 69kg category was one of seven that saw Ireland double up, presumably to help the High Performance in weights were tough calls exist.

However, Walsh suffered a hand injury in sparring last week and as a result won’t be going to Bulgaria, indeed rumour suggests she won’t be ready to compete in time for London and March 13.

Desmond now upgrades from Olympic qualifier favourite to nigh on cert to fight for a place in Tokyo in March. If Desmond finishes in the top five in London she will be Olympic bound.

The news now means Team Ireland are only doubling up in six weighs – Ceire Smith & Carly McNaul (51kg), Kellie Harrington and Amy Broadhurst (60kg), Kurt Walker and Dean Clancy (57kg), and George Bates and Wayne Kelly (69kg) – in the Bulgarian capital.

Irish boxing is building toward the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 which begin in London on March 13.

Fifty nations will compete in the qualifiers, according to reports.

77 Olympics places – 50 for men and 27 for women – will be up for grabs.

The Irish squad leave for Sofia on Monday.

Strandja Multi-Nations Sofia, Bulgaria January 20/25

Irish squad


51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan) and Carly McNaul (Holy Family)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s) and Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan)

69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)


57kg Kurt Walker (Canal) and Dean Clancy (Sean McDermott)

63kg George Bates (St Mary’s) and Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)

69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) and Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield)

91kg+ Antoine O’Griofa (Celtic Eagles)


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: