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
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)
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)
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