Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls had to consult their best form to ensure they won Irish titles and booked their place on the plane to the qualifiers in Turkey last Friday night, but they will still have to step up a notch to make it London 2012, according to High Performance director Billy Walsh.
Seven Irish fighters kept their dreams of seeing the Olympic torch in the flesh burning with victories on the best supported National Final card in recent.
However, despite performing in front a massive and excited National Stadium crowd in probably the most competitive and arguably the greatest Senior Elite Championships ever last weekend, but they have been warned it takes a lot more to make it to the greatest sporting stage of them all.
The experienced Walsh warns whilst the domestic scene is competitive the international stage is a whole new level.
“As an ex boxer myself, it was a great night and a fantastic experience for all the lads to box in an atmosphere like that. But people shouldn’t get carried away with the euphoria of it all. It was a great championships but it was still a domestic one. The reality is that if was re to succeed internationally all seven lads going to Turkey will have to go up a notch or two on what they did on Friday,” Walsh told Gerry Callan of the Star Newspaper.
“As ever in international championships and tournaments the draw is key. We might get a bye in a division or two or get a fight we know we can win. It is important to get off to a good start. I have already told everyone of them they have a chance of making it to the Olympics, but they have to move it up a notch or two.”
Qualification won’t just rely on skill however, Walsh believes there will be a certain amount of fortune needed. Indeed you could say it is down to the luck of the draw- which could bode well for Con Sheehan considering he won the raffle and the Irish super heavyweight title in the Stadium last weekend.
“The draw is vital, both in Turkey and when we go to the actual games. There will be seeding in operation, so Joe Ward should be in the top two in Trazbon and Paddy Barnes will be in top four. But again, the draw will be key not just for them but for the rest of the lads.”