Irish boxing enjoyed huge success at underage level in 2016.
Overall, 14 medals were won in major international tournaments this year and the future certainly looks bright for Ireland
There are plenty of names to look out for over the next few years, and the list of nominees could have gone on and on, but we have whittled it down to seven super boxers.
This award is named in honour of 1956 Olympic bronze medalist Freddie Gilroy, who passed away this year.
And the nominees are…
Edward Donovan – Our Lady of Lourdes, Limerick
Limerick’s Edward Donovan began his year with a loss to Seamus Mongan in the Youth 1 finals, but this would push him on to glory. The OLOL 57kg boxer exerted revenge over the same fighter in the Senior Cadet Finals before a sensational gold at the European Junior Championships in Kaposvar, Hungary. Donovan won five fights in Central Europe, including a quarter final win over the home favourite and a tough semi final against a French opponent, before defeating Moldovan southpaw Ursa Constantin to take gold.
Gabriel Dossen – Olympic BC, Galway
2016 has gone beyond the wildest dreams of Gabriel Dossen. The Galway fighter won his first Irish title in April, taking the 63kg Youth 2 crown before glory at the Haringey Box Cup. Things really kicked into gear in August when Dossen shocked many by winning the 64kg Under-18 title. The win saw the then-16 year old Knocknacarra boxer chosen for the Irish team for the World Youths in St Petersburg. Despite being one of the youngest boxers at the entire tournament, Dossen stormed to bronze with the Côte d’Ivoire-born fighter winning three bouts before being edged out by home favourite Sergei Margarian.
William Hayden – Crumlin BC, Dublin
Dubliner William Hayden claimed Boy 3 glory at 63kg before heading to the European Schoolboys Championships in Zagreb. Out in Croatia the Crumlin destroyer stepped up to 65kg and stopped a Belarussian opponent, outpointed a Russian, before prevailing in the final over Ukrainian Andrii Grynnyk. Following the medal Hayden was also named the Echo Sports Star of the Month for June.
Oliver McCarthy – Brian Dillons BC, Cork
Rebel teenager Oliver McCarthy claimed top prize at 60kg in the first Under-18 Championships in May before heading to Anapa, Russia, for the European Youths. Here the Cork southpaw slickster won four fights,, including a fantastic semi final victory over Azeri Sarhan Aliev, en-route to the final where he was beaten by home favourite Beslan Khamzaev.
Jason Myers – Titans ABC, Galway
Galway ace Jason Myers took the 70kg Boy 3 title in April before heading to Croatia for the European Schoolboys. In Zagred the box-fighter won his three bouts to take 68kg gold, beating Romanian and English opposition and decisively defeating Russian Dmitry Babich in the final.
Mary Kate Nevin – Mullingar Elite, Westmeath
It has been a brilliant year for Mullingar Elite’s Mary Kate Nevin. The Westmeath boxer won the 48kg Girl 4 and 50kg Senior Cadet Irish titles before ruling at the Queens Cup in Germany. The tournament in Stralsund acted as a mini European Junior and Youth Championships due to the poor attendance of nations at the Championships in Ordu, Turkey. In Germany Nevin dominated her three bouts to take home 50kg Junior gold as well as the overall best boxer award.
Michael Nevin – Portlaoise BC, Laois
Nevin rounded out his astonishing underage career in 2016 with yet another medal. There was bronze at ‘the mini World Championships,’ the Pavlyukov Youth Memorial in Russia before the Midlander lost to Brett McGinty in the first Under-18 Championships. This lead to him making the move the more comfortable weight of 75kg where Nevin stormed to Irish title number ten in the second Under-18 Championships in August. Nevin was then chosen for the Irish side for the World Youth Championships in Russia and looked sensational in his first three bouts in St Petersburg, guaranteeing bronze, before losing to eventual gold medalist Willie Hutchinson.
Honourable mentions: Kieran Molloy (Pavlyukov Youth Memorial Gold), Terry McEntee (European Youth Bronze), Terry Donoghue (European Junior Silver), Jack Conroy (European Junior Silver), Martin McDonagh (European Junior Bronze), Cain Lewis, Francis Maughan, Patrick Collins, Jason Irwin (all European Schoolboys Bronze).