Super 6 shoot for silver lining – Six Irish fighters in European Games action today

Six Irish fighters go in search of the silver lining today.

Irish captain Kelly Harrington, Regan Buckley, Michaela Walsh, Kurt Walker, Grainne Walsh and Michael Nevin are between the ropes looking to upgrade their guaranteed bronze to at least silver at the European Games.

Michaela Walsh and Grainne Walsh are the first in action against Russian and Polish opposition respectively in the afternoon session which begins at 12 noon (Irish time).

Buckley, Walker, Harrington and Nevin fight in the second session which starts at 4.30pm (Irish time).

St Teresa’s Buckley meets Rio 2016 Olympian Artur Hovannisyan.

Buckley, the second successive Bray fighter to medal at the European Games after Katie Taylor (gold) in Baku in 2015, returned from the pro ranks after two paid fights in 2017.

The meeting of Canal’s Kurt Walker and England’s Peter McGrail is a repeat of last November’s EU final which Walker won in Spain on a split in a reversal of the Commonwealth final which the Liverpool bantam won in Australia on a split a few months earlier. McGrail, by virtue of being the current European Elite titlist, a tournament in which he defeated the Ulsterman, is the No.1 seed in Minsk. Walker is No.4.

Laois-native Nevin won three bouts in 4 days in Minsk and faces Italian middleweight Salavtore Cavallaro for a place in the 75kg final. Both men have never traded leather competitively but sparred at the University of Ulster in a training camp leading up to the Games.

Grainne Walsh crosses swords with Poland’s Karolina Koszewska. The Warsaw southpaw has been on the road since 2002. The Spartacus welter, a European Union bronze medallist, convincingly beat Finland’s European Elite champion Elina Gustafsson in the last eight.

Dublin’s World Elite lightweight champion Harrington, the No. 1 seed in Belarus, is in against experienced Agnes Alexiusson. The Swede beat Finland’s Mira Potkonen, who eliminated Katie Taylor at Rio 2016, this year.

Belfast feather Michaela Walsh crosses swords with Daria Abramova in a repeat of the 2018 European Elite semi-final which the Russian shaded on a 3-2 split en route to gold in Sofia.

European Games 2019 Minsk, Belarus

June 28

S/Finals

49kg Regan Buckley (Ireland) v Artur Hovannisyan (Armenia) (6.15pm)
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Peter McGrail (Team GB) (6.30pm)
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Daria Abramova (Russia) (12pm)
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Agnes Alexiusson (Sweden) (5pm)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) v Karolina Koszewska (Poland) (12.45pm)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Salavtore Cavallaro (Italy) (7.45pm)

Irish squad

Female

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monsktown A) (Bronze, at least)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Marys) (Bronze, at least)

69kg Gráinne Walsh (Spartacus) (Bronze, at least)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)

Male

49kg Regan Buckley (St Teresa’s) (Bronze, at least)

56kg Kurt Walker (Canal) (Bronze, at least)

64kg James McGivern (St George’s)

69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise) (Bronze, at least)

91kg Tony Browne (St Michael’s Dublin)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Team manager: Bernard Dunne

Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk

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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: [email protected]