Three Irish Fighter’s in Olympic Qualifier Action Today

Ireland will open its 1st Olympic Qualifier campaign on Sunday.

602 boxers from 113 countries have registered to contest the tournament – making it the third-largest boxing tournament in history. As a result, the beginning of boxing has been brought forward by a day, to March 3rd. Three sessions of boxing will take place March 4th to 8th to accommodate the volume of competition required.

49 quota places are available. In all weights Ireland is contesting at the tournament, a last four finish will qualify for Paris. The Paris Boxing Taskforce, which is running the competition on behalf of the International Olympic Committee, has advised that boxers will box to quota – which means boxers will cease competing at the Quarter Finals stage where last 4 qualify.

51kg Sean Mari, 92+kg Martin McDonagh and 50kg Daina Moorehouse will all be in action on the opening day of competition.

McDonagh, who claimed three domestic titles in a 10-month period last year, is in action in Bout 12 of Ring A’s afternoon session, against the Dominican Republic’s Fernely Ali Feliz. In the same session in Ring B, 51kg Mari, a 2023 European Games veteran, takes on Romania’s Petre Cosmin Girleanu in Bout 8.

In the evening session, 50kg Moorehouse, a quarter finalist in the European Games, takes on Vietnam’s Thi Tam Nguyen in Bout 4 in Ring B.

High Performance Head Coach, Zauri Antia, says “It is a great honour, and a remarkable achievement, to box for Ireland at this level, in the hope of becoming an Olympian. The preparations for this team have been excellent, and I believe in all 8 boxers and their abilities. There is a long road of four fights for our boxers to book their ticket to Paris, but they are very committed. I am proud to be here with them, and to do the business.”

High Performance Coach Damian Kennedy “This will be a tough competition, but every single boxer on this team is ready. They’ve put in the work, technically and tactically, in our training camps with Ukraine, Spain, France and Turkey, and in our training camp in Assisi in February. There is massive drive and focus in all of these athletes – they know what’s ahead, they know what’s at stake. They are all high performers and can’t wait to get in to the ring.”

The Paris Boxing Taskforce has also issued the programme for the second day of the tournament, Monday March 4th. 3 Ireland boxers step between the ropes.

54kg Jennifer Lehane, who contested the 2023 European Games, meets France’s Romane Moulai in the opening bout of Ring A’s morning session. 80kg Kelyn Cassidy takes on Greece’s Michail Tsamalidis in Bout 8 of Ring B’s morning session. In the evening session in Ring A, 57kg Jude Gallagher meets Algeria’s Hichem Maouche, in Bout 7.

High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle says “Preparations for this crucial tournament for these athletes has included a domestic super camp with Ukraine, a Men’s Camp with Spain & Ulster, a Women’s Camp with France, Spain and Turkey, a Heat Acclimatisation Camp in Turkey, a training camp with 25 other federations in Assisi, and ongoing boxing technical learning supported by Sport Science practitioners in the daily training environment.” Tricia adds “We would love to qualify the biggest team ever to represent Ireland – and we believe that is achievable”

5 Irish boxers have already qualified for Paris – reigning lightweight Olympic champ, Kellie Harrington, Tokyo Olympians Belfast’s Michaela Walsh (57kg)  and Roscommon’s Aoife O’Rourke (75kg); 63.5kg Dean Clancy (Sligo), and Dublin’s Jack Marley, the first Irish heavyweight in 30 years to medal at a Category A event. 

1st Olympic World Qualifier Team:

50kg Daina Moorehouse, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow

54kg Jennifer Lehane, DCU Boxing Club, Dublin

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

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

57kg Jude Gallagher, Two Castles ABC, Tyrone

71kg Aidan Walsh, Holy Family GG BC, Belfast

80kg Kelyn Cassidy, Saviours Crystal, Waterford

92+kg Martin McDonagh, Crumlin BC, Dublin


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years