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Silver lining as Grace Conway loses out in European Youth final

Grace Conway was left settle for her second European silver medal after going down against Ukraine’s Taisiia Pokusai in Sunday’s flyweight final at the European Youth Championships.

Conway put up a big battle against the tough Ukrainian, the European Junior gold medallist last year, but the Tredagh southpaw was just unable to get the better of the often-awkward Pokusai.

The pair stood for what seemed an age in the centre of the ring to await the outcome of a bout review, which eventually went the way of Pokusai 5-2.

It was an agonising wait and verdict for Conway following a sometimes frustrating contest in Porec.

Conway, a silver medal winner at the European Juniors in 2022, when she lost to England’s Alice Pumphrey – who won the preceding youth final in Croatia – competed at last year’s World Juniors, losing out to Nisha Nisha from India in a quarter-final in Yerevan.

Conway was caught by an early right from Pokusai and despite the Irish woman upping the ante in the closing part of the opening stanza, the Ukrainian earned 10-9 verdicts all down the scorecards.

With The Fields of Athenry audible in her ear as she rose from the blue corner stool for the second, Conway was energised in a grappling bout.

Conway surged to the medals rostrum with wins over Luciana Petrache, Martyna Koczkodaj and Madalina Grabucea.

Against Koczkodaj, Conway took victory after a bout review, but in the final the Termonfeckin woman was left to agonise over one that got away.

Pokusai, who won gold last year in the European Junior Championships in Romania, was given a warning for persistent holding in the third – ‘how many times?’ asked one Irish supporter just beforehand.

Conway needed the third round of her lifetime but, in spite of the warning, it was Pokusai who did enough to earn the verdict – and the gold.

A second European silver is winging its way to the Conway sideboard, though.