Team Ireland received the red carpet treatment at Dublin Airport this morning after returning home from the inaugural European Games in Baku. Azerbaijan.
Katie Taylor (gold), Michael O’Reilly (gold), Brendan “Wee Rooster” Irvine (silver) and Sean McComb (bronze) finished in podium positions in the Azeri capital for Irish boxing.
Saturday’s victory in the 60kg final was the 160th win of Taylor’s incredible 167-bout career and her 18th major title in-a-row, while O’Reilly, sensationally, also won gold on Saturday to help Ireland finish in third spot in the medals table behind Russia and Azerbaijan.
O’Reilly, Irvine and McComb have also qualified for October’s World Men’s Elite Championships in Qatar, which is a qualifier for Rio 2016. The Irish trio will also enter the AIBA World rankings for the first time when the rankings are updated to reflect performances in Baku.
Nine Irish boxers also reached the last-eight at the European Games.
Ireland’s male boxers will have to go out and do it all again at the European Elite Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in August, but today was another day of celebration for the sport which has claimed eleven medals from the last three Olympic and European Games.
“It’s fantastic, I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to it, said Taylor today. “The reception is phenomenal. It’s great to come home with another gold medal.”
Fergal Carruth, CEO of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), and IABA representatives were at Dublin Airport this morning to welcome the Irish team home.
Tommy Murphy, President of the IABA, hailed the performances of Ireland’s boxers in the Azeri capital. He said: “Once again the entire squad have done their country proud in international competition. To win two gold medals on the final day of competition in Baku and four medals overall is a fantastic achievement.
“Our boxers represent the nation with distinction each time they compete in international competition. They are an eternal source of pride.”
Johsua Magee, Sam Magee and Chloe Magee won bronze in the badminton event at the 1st European Games. Irish sport finished in 25th position in the medals table at the Baku Games.
1st European Games Baku, Azerbaijan
52kg Myles Casey (Ireland) beat Ivan Fihurenka (Belarus) 3-0
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) lost to Nazirov Bakhtovar (Russia) 1-2
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Ionut Jitaru (Romania) 3-0
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Alban Bequri (Albania) 3-0
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Pol Sanjin Vrgoc (Croatia) 3-0
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Tymur Beliak (Ukraine) 3-0
49kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Tinko Banabakov (Bulgaria) 3-0
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Camila Johansen (Norway) 3-0
52kg Myles Casey (Ireland) lost to Elvin Mamishzada (Azerbaijan) 0-3
54kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) lost to Elena Saveleva (Russia) 0-3
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Donato Cosenza (Italy) 3-0
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Dario Morello (Italy) 3-0
91kg + Dean Gardiner (Ireland) beat Guido Vianello (Italy) 3-0
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Denista Eliseeva (Bulgaria) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) beat Maxim Dadashev (Russia) 2-1
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Emir Sabotic (Montenegro) 3-0
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Raitis Sinkevics (Latvia) 3-0
49kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Salman Alizida (Azerbaijan) 2-1
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) lost to Salana Sagatavea (Russia) 1-2
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost Tony Yoka (France) 0-3
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Yasin Yilmaz (Turkey) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) lost to Kastriot Sopa (Germany) 0-3
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) lost to Josh Kelly (Great Britain) 1-2
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Ida Lundblad (Sweden) 3-0
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Alijaz Venko (Slovenia) 3-0
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Gevorg Manukian (Ukraine) 1-2
49kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Dmytro Zamotayev (Ukraine) 3-0
49kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) lost to Bator Sagaluev (Russia) 1-2
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Yana Alekeevna (Azerbaijan) 2-1
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) lost to Albert Selimov (Azerbaijan) 0-3
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Maxim Koptyakov (Russia) W/O
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Xaybula Musalov (Azerbaijan) 3-0
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Estelle Mossely (France) 3-0
51kg – flyweight – Ceire Smith (Cavan)
54kg – bantamweight – Michaela Walsh (Holy Family)
60kg – lightweight – Katie Taylor (Bray) (Gold)
49kg – light-flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s Antrim) (Silver)
52kg – flyweight – Myles Casey (St Francis)
56kg – bantamweight – Kurt Walker (Canal)
60kg – lightweight – Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) (Bronze)
64kg -light-welterweight – Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)
69kg – welterweight – Adam Nolan (Bray)
75kg – middleweight – Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) (Gold)
91kg – heavyweight – Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91kg+ – super-heavyweight – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Billy Walsh, Zuar Antia, Pete Taylor, Gerry Storey
Physio: Jullianne Ryan
Strength & Conditioning: John Cleary
Sports Psychologist: Gerry Hussey