They believe as the reigning National Elite champion, the Wexford Walsh should have got the nod over a fighter he defeated in the 2022 installment of the national contest early last year.
Dean Walsh, whose comeback story captured the imagination, did have the chance to qualify for Ireland at the European Games in Krakow last year but missed out on a place at light-middleweight. He won’t have the opportunity in Italy as the Belfast Walsh was selected – but he remains part of the Olympic Training Squad and could be sent to Thailand for the final qualifier.
Eugene McKeever was also in the frame at the weight and there were ongoing assessments at the High Performance. Considering Aidan Walsh had been injured for the most part of last year Dean Walsh was the favourite to travel, but the IABA had options and one was ‘a made for the amateur game’ Olympic medal winner.
They went with the Tokyo bronze medal winner and the Wexford County Board are not happy.
In one of the strongest-ever reaction to the always contentious qualifier selection, Wexford secretary Dominic Robinson expressed outrage at the national champion’s omission.
“Dean Walsh has already beaten Aidan Walsh during their last encounter at last year’s Elite championships, at the semi-final stage, and Aidan Walsh didn’t even compete in our National Elite Championships this year,” reads the letter.
“The more cynical amongst us might now propose that this was strategic so as to avoid having to meet Dean Walsh again in open competition. The rightful place for our very experienced current National Champion is as the number one choice.
“It seems to us that Dean is being discriminated against by the High Performance setup, given he is the only current champion to have to go through a so-called assessment process.
The letter adds that “no blame can be attached to Aidan Walsh who is a very good boxer and no doubt a person of fine character” but also that the Wexford county board finds the selection “totally unacceptable and intend to do our utmost to highlight and persuade the powers that be to reverse this injustice”.
Irish-boxing.com understands neither Dean Walsh or his club had anything to do with the letter. It’s also understood the Wexford County board were aware of Walsh’s omission from late last week, so the letter wasn’t drafted in the heat of the moment.