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Ulster Elite Senior Championships 2017 – PREVIEW

The entry list has been finalised, the boxers are weighed in, the draw has been made.

We’re now ready for the return of the Ulster Elite Senior Championships.

The famous provincial tournament is back with a bang in 2017 following a year off, and kicks off on Wednesday at the Dockers club in Belfast with quarter and semi finals.

There are further semis at the same venue on Friday, then Friday week (November 24th) we are set for a return to the glorious Ulster Hall for a massive finals night.

With results factoring into selection for the Northern Irish team for next year’s Commonwealth Games, entry levels have been high and takes a look through all the weights below.

Men’s Light Flyweight – 49kg
Reigning Irish U22 and Ulster champion Darryl Moran (Illies) has not entered, meaning a straight final between reigning Irish Elite champion Blaine Dobbins (St Joseph’s) and 2013 Irish Novice champion Ricky Nesbitt (Carrickmacross).

Men’s Flyweight – 52kg
Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s) is the the man to beat at flyweight and has received a bye straight to the final. The Wee Rooster will face the winner of Wednesday’s semi final between former underage star Conor Quinn (Clonard) and Irish U22 runner-up and former Irish Intermediate and Ulster champ Jason McKay (Canal). Former Irish Elite runner-up and Reigning Ulster champion TJ Waite (Ormeau Road) does not enter.

Men’s Bantamweight – 56kg
Three-time Irish Elite champion and European bronze medalist Kurt Walker is a late withdrawal following a broken thumb in sparring. while It is therefore a straight final, and reigning champion Eamonn McNally (St Michael’s) will face Conor Kerr (Glengormley).

Men’s Lightweight – 60kg
One of the busier weights, it kicks off on Wednesday in the quarter finals. 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Sean Duffy (Holy Trinity) has dropped down in weight and will face Gerard Matthews (St Paul’s) – a veteran of the Irish seniors, Ulster 64kg runner up last time out, and who comes into the championships off the back of a big International win versus Poland. The winner of this bout will face Stevie McKenna (Old School), with the 2016 Irish light fly champ having moved up in weight once again. On the other side of the draw, Irish U22 champion Dylan Duffy (Pegasus) will face Callum Trengrove (Spartans), with the winner going on to face 2014 Commonwealth Youth gold medalist James McGivern (St George’s) in the semis.

Men’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Irish Elite champion Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) is the man to beat here. He faces Matthew McCole (Dungloe) in the semis on Wednesday. Irish Intermediate runner up Vinny Esler (All Saints) is highly rated and boxes Irish U22 runner up Caoimhin Ferguson (Gleann) in Wednesday’s quarters, with the winner going on to face reigning champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games participant Bernaldo Marime (Holy Trinity) on the other side of the draw.

Men’s Welterweight – 69kg
Another busy weight, 2014 Commonwealth Youth gold medalist at 64kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown) will face Irish Elite quarter finalist Ross Boyle (Mourne) in the quarter finals on Wednesday. In the other quarter, Irish Intermediate 64kg champion Eugene McKeever (Holy Family Drogheda) will box the hotly-tipped Gerard French (Clonard), who has come down in weight. The winners of these two bouts will fight in Friday’s semis. In the other semi, Commonwealth Youth silver medalist and Irish Elite runner up Brett McGinty (Oakleaf) will fight Nathan Watson (Saints), a quarter finalist at the Irish Elites. 2014 Commonwealth Youth Games silver medalist at 60kg and Conor McGregor sparring partner Tiernan Bradley is a late withdrawal due to injury.

Men’s Middleweight – 75kg
Caoimhin Agyarko Hynes (Holy Trinity) has made a fantastic recovery from a vicious assault earlier this year and begins his campaign in the quarter finals against the experienced Michael Bustard (Monkstown), winner at welter last time out. The winner of this bout will face 2014 Commonwealth bronze medalist and Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly (All Saints), who has moved up in weight for these championships. On the other side of the draw, Noel Donnelly (Dockers) will box two-time runner up Conor Doherty (Emerald), with the winner facing reigning champion Fearghus Quinn (Carnlough).

Men’s Light Heavyweight – 81kg
Conor Wallace (Holy Family Drogheda) has made the move up in weight and has received a bye straight to the final. He will face the winner of the bout between Karol Dlugosz (Scorpion) and Michael McAllister (Dockers). 2014 winner and Irish Intermediate runner up Ryan Donnelly does not enter.

Men’s Heavyweight – 91kg
In the semi finals on Friday, 2015 Intermediate champion Stephen Lawrence (Holy Family Drogheda) will box big Dee Sullivan (Emerald), who has come down from super heavy – where he won the Ulster Elites and was edged out by Elite Champion Martin Keenan in the semis of the Irish Seniors earlier this year – for this tournament. In the other semi, veteran Jason Barron (Holy Trinity) goes for his fourth Ulster title and takes on Charlie Boyle (Monkstown).

Men’s Super Heavyweight – +91kg
Stephen McMonagle (Holy Trinity) has moved up in weight and aims for his third Ulster title on the spin. He faces 2017 Irish Novice champion Dean Scullion (Loughshore) in the quarters on Wednesday. The winner will face Joe Joyce (Erne), while the other semi final will see Joe Downey (Immaculata) take on Denis Borskins (Sacred Heart Newry).

Women’s Light Flyweight – 48kg
It’s a straight final with Irish Elite champion Kristina O’Hara (St John Bosco) taking on Irish U22 runner up Chloe Fleck (Canal)

Women’s Flyweight – 51kg
Irish Elite champion Carly McNaul. gets a bye straight into the final and will face the winner of the bout between veteran Ceire Smith (Cavan) and Donna Barr (Twin Towns), reigning champ at 48kg who is returning from injury and stepping up in weight

Women’s Bantamweight – 54kg
No boxers have entered at this weight.

Women’s Featherweight – 57kg
EU 54kg gold and Commonwealth 51kg silver medalist Michaela Walsh (Monkstown) has received a walkover

Women’s Lightweight – 60kg
2014 Commonwealth bronze medalist Alanna Nihell (Eastside/British Army) has received a walkover

Women’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
No boxers have entered at this weight.

Women’s Welterweight – 69kg
No boxers have entered at this weight.

Women’s Middleweight – 75kg
Sarah Close (Holy Trinity) has received a walkover.

Women’s Light Heavyweight – 81kg
Irish Elite runner up Caroline Connolly has received a walkover.

Women’s Heavyweight – +81kg
No boxers have entered at this weight. would like to wish the best of luck to each and every boxer participating in this month’s tournament.


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: