By IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill
Team Ireland bid arrivederci to their training camp in Assisi, Italy early this morning en route to Rome.
The squad are scheduled to catch a 10am flight from the Eternal City to Samsun, Turkey ahead of the opening bell for the European Olympic qualifiers this weekend.
Olympic champion Katie Taylor and Ceire Smith arrived in Samsun on Wednesday, along with Irish interim head coach Zaur Antia.
Both women could be in action on Day 1 on Saturday.
Thirty nine nations have entered the tournament. Thirty six Olympic places are up for grabs, thirty of which go to men.
Ireland trained with Italy, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Sweden and Finland in Assisi.
World Elite bantamweight champion Michael Conlan and three-time European Union Elite lightweight champion David Oliver Joyce met in a sparring session on the final day of training yesterday (see pictures).
Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward, who have already qualified for Rio 2016, also trained in Assisi. The Rio trio return home today.
Steven Donnelly has also qualified for the 2016 Olympics.
Ireland’s nine-strong squad will battle against Europe’s finest to join the quartet on the plane to the 31st Olympiad in Samsun.
Irish squad European Olympic qualifiers Samsun, Turkey April 7/17
51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan)
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (AIBA Pro Boxing)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Joesphs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan