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Team Ireland mean business – Zaur Antia backs boxers to get Olympic job done

Team Ireland both mean and know how to handle business going into the final Olympic Qualifier assures coach Zaur Antia.

Seven Irish fighters step into Last Chance Salon in Thailand over the next few weeks and hope to exit through the swinging double doors with a ticket to Paris.

To realise their Olympic dreams Daina Moorehouse (50kg), Jennifer Lehane (54kg), Grainne Walsh (66kg) Sean Mari (51kg) and Martin McDonagh (92kg) will have to reach the semi-final stages [although the competition ends once qualification is achieved]. A quarter-final berth may do for Aidan Walsh as there are five quota places at 71kgs. There are just three available in the men’s 80kg class, meaning Keyln Cassidy has to finish in the top three.

Regardless of how far any individual boxer has to go in the tournament, Antia takes assurance and confidence from the fact the team is ready to do the business.

The High Performance Head Coach said: “This is an excellent team, which knows its business. They have all improved and continued to build their skill and their fitness.”

The Team finished up a 12-day training camp in Hua Hin last night and made the three-hour trip to Bangkok today. Boxing begins on Friday and coach, Damian Kennedy, assures they are ready for action.

“Our boxers are in a great place – focused, technically and tactically prepared. These are experienced athletes, and they know what’s ahead of them and what’s at stake. I’m confident in each and every one of their abilities, and morale is high. We’re all looking forward to that first bell in Bangkok.”

High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle is targeting at least two more over the line.

“We have set a target of 8 qualifications for the Paris Olympic Games and with 6 of these already achieved at the 2023 European Games and 1st Olympic World Qualifier, we are on track. It is not an easy task but key to achieving this is the world-class daily training environment at the Sport Ireland Institute that we are so fortunate to have.”

50kg Daina Moorehouse, Enniskerry BC, Co. Wicklow

54kg Jennifer Lehane, DCU Boxing Club, Dublin

66kg Grainne Walsh, St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght, Dublin

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

71kg Aidan Walsh, Holy Family Golden Gloves BC, Belfast

80kg Kelyn Cassidy, Saviour’s Crystal, Waterford.

92+kg Martin McDonagh, Galway Boxing Club.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years