Team Ireland made history yesterday, in more ways than one, at the Women’s European Championship final in Budva, Montenegro.
Heading into today’s bouts, Team Ireland already topped the numerical medal table, with 7 in all. After final’s day proceedings, Team Ireland had won three gold, two silver, and three bronze, and was given the Best Team accolade.
The first gold of the way went to Kellie Harrington, who made history in the process – she has now won a European gold (2022), silver (2017) and bronze (2018) and becomes only the second boxer in Irish history with an Olympic, World and European title, the other being Katie Taylor. The Portland Row fighter boxed her final against Czech Republic’s Lenka Bernardova and won every round, claiming her title, 5-0.
The second gold of the day went to 63kg Amy Broadhurst, similarly decisive against Ukraine’s Mariia Bova. The reigning world champion won European bronze at lightweight in 2019. This has been a spectacular year for her – she become World Champion in May, won Commonwealth gold in August, and a European title in October.
While middleweight, Olympia Aoife O’Rourke, claimed her second European gold today, following her bout against Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik.
Its also been a fantastic year for 22-year-old 50kg Caitlin Fryers; today, she contested her first international elite final against Turkey’s Naz Buse Cakiroglu. She comes home with silver after defeat to an Olympic silver medalist and having had a very strong tournament.
And light middle, Christina Desmond, now has two European medals to her credit. She won bronze at middleweight in 2016, and now has a 70kg silver to her name, following her meeting with Armenia’s Ani Hovsepyan.
Team Ireland also boasts two Bronze medals, for 48kg Shannon Sweeney and 57kg, Micheala Walsh. Both women lost their semifinals to the eventual gold medalists, Bulgaria’s Sevda Asenova and Italy’s Irma Testa, respectively.
It’s been a keynote year for Walsh, who is 5th ranked in the world after the Women’s World Championships and also claimed Commonwealth Games gold in August.
Two Team Ireland boxers’ participation in the tournament ended at the Quarter Final stage – however, 52kg Carly McNaul and 66kg Kaci Rock, both lost out to the eventual champions, Ukraine’s Tatiana Kob, and Germany’s Stefanie von Berne, respectively – while 54kg Niamh Fay, who is just 19, won a European U22 title this year, contested the Women’s World Championship and gained further invaluable international experience at the Women’s European Championship.
Report Courtesy of IABA
Team Ireland Squad
48kg: Shannon Sweeney, St. Anne’s, Mayo
50kg: Caitlin Fryers, Immaculata BC, Belfast
52kg: Carly McNaul, Ormeau Road BC, Belfast
54kg: Niamh Fay, Phoenix of Ballyboughal BC, Dublin
57kg: Michaela Walsh, Emerald BC, Belfast
60kg: Kellie Harrington, St. Mary’s BC, Dublin
63kg: Amy Broadhurst, St. Bronagh’s ABC, Newry
66kg: Kaci Rock, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow
70kg: Christina Desmond, Dungarvan BC/Garda BC
75kg: Aoife O’Rourke, Olympic BC, Galway