The strength of Irish women’s boxing can be gauged by the IABA’s decision to send a squad of eight to the European Union Championships which take place in Katowice, Poland from 30th May to 4 June.
In most previous years, we have been represented by less than half that number, always Katie Taylor, occasionally Sinead Kavanagh, sometimes Alanna Murphy and Kelly Harrington.
The eight strong squad is more led by World and European champion Katie Taylor who will be seeking a record breaking fourth EU gold in a row in Katowice.
The experienced Sinead Kavanagh of Drimnagh and Corinthians’ Kelly Harrington will again wear the Irish middleweight and light-welterweight vests, while Lynn McEnery competes at light-flyweight.
McEnery only took up boxing less than two and a half years ago but is no stranger to international sport. She previously claimed European and World titles as a kick boxer. Was she looking for new challenges?
Interviewed in “ The Waterford Star” she said: : “I suppose I was after winning two World titles in kick-boxing so I was after going as far as I could possibly go. I’ve always liked boxing and just to take it up then after I got married two and half years ago. From there I’m after winning two Irish titles and now after boxing international and training up in Dublin up in the women’s high performance every Saturday.” She first represented Ireland in Dungarvan in March when she defeated leading Chinese ,Yujie Luo 6-5
Competing at international level for the first time is Taylor’s Bray BC club mate , Laoise Traynor at welterweight . Cavan’s Céire Smith who represented her country for the first time in the 2010 World Championships in Barbados will again be our flyweight representative and Dervala Duffy ,from the Ryston club in Kildare ,will face strong opposition from Hungarian, British and Polish opponents in the featherweight class . Completing the squad is Kilkenny light-heavyweight Laura O’Neill who boxes out of the Paulstown club.
Team Manager is Ballinrobe journalist Majella Loftus of the “Western People”, herself a highly successful coach .
“I am delighted to have been nominated by the Connacht Council and that the national organisation had the confidence in me to do the job. It is a fabulous opportunity and comes on the back of a brilliant year for our club with four of our female boxers winning five titles in all.
“Representing your country is always an honour, especially at a competition as prestigious as this one is. To work alongside a boxer of the calibre of three-times World Champion, Katie Taylor and her father, Pete will also be a momentous experience,” Majella told the Western People.
Meantime, Katie Taylor’s final appearance in Ireland,before leaving for Katowice, was when she joined other famous sports stars among them Brian O’Driscoll, Pádraig Harrington, Robbie Keane, Colm Cooper and Henry Shefflin and was introduced, by Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh to the estimated 40,000 crowd in College Green before again meeting President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Irish squad EU Women’s Championships Katowice, Poland May 30th/June 4th:
48Kg: Lynne McEnery (St Paul’s,Waterford)
51Kg: Ceire Smith (Cavan)
57Kg: Dervla Duffy (Ryston)
60Kg: Katie Taylor (Bray)
64Kg: Kelly Harrington (Corinthians)
69Kg: Laoise Traynor (Bray)
75Kg: Sinead Kavanagh (Drimnagh)
81+Kg: Laura O’Neill (Paulstown)
Team Manager: Majella Loftus
Coaches: Peter Taylor & Zaur Antia