Portlaoise’s Michael O’Reilly and Mayo’s Gary Sweeney claimed silver medals as the 2011 European Youth Championships were concluded at the Citywest Hotel Convention Centre in Saggart on Saturday evening.
In the eyes of many neutrals as well as the very disappointed Irish fans , O’Reilly dominated his welterweight final with Igor Kharitonov of Russia but somehow was deemed to have been defeated 16-15. The chorus of boos from the fans, amply demonstrated the feelings of those present, albeit the majority were Irish.
Throughout the week the judging has appeared to be very fair and almost entirely without controversy – not so on Saturday .The fact remains however that O’Reilly was adjudged to have lost and that is what the record books will for ever say.
And O’Reilly himself speaking about the vagaries of the computer scoring system ? :
“All I know is I won the fight but didn’t get the decision. I’m happy enough I got a silver medal but I would be happier with a gold,” he added.
Sweeney, gave of his all in that third and final round final round against another Russian, Vladimir Korsunov, but the Ballinrobe man lost 16-13 when the judges gave their verdict. A close encounter but the Russian was a deserving winner .
You will recall that Stephen Broadhurst, Joe Fitzpatrick and Jack Morrissey, had each won a bronze medal each so Ireland’s tally for the tournament was a very creditable five medals , by far the most of any Western European nation but a long way short of the Russian total.
Lithuania’s I excellent light heavyweight Ricardas Kuncaitis was not only deserving of his Gold medal but also claimed the boxer of the tournament award – and rightly so. Most certainly one to watch in senior championships in the years ahead.
Inevitably, Russia, (winners of five gold medals on finals day ) won the best team award.They had boxers in 9 of the 10 finals.
Russia, Azerbaijan and Ireland finished in the top three positions at the 38-nation Championships,also an excellent performance from the Irish team especially if one considers that England did not manage even one finalist on this occasion.
No Gold medal for Ireland this time but some excellent performances nonetheless and a talented crop of young fighters to progress in senior ranks in the coming years.
A well organised tournament by the IABA and all credit to their Communications teams for keeping not only home boxing fans but also the European media fully updates with scores and reports as the week progressed. IABABoxing’s live streaming on f the semi-finals and finals day was first class.
Hopefully they will put the O’Reilly and Sweeney fights on YOU TUBE shortly and thus a wider audience can see for themselves just how well the Irish guys fought and in O’Reilly’s case viewers can make their own mind u as to whether or not “he was robbed” – something being widely suggested on sports forums on Saturday evening