TWENTY THREE titles were claimed at the National Intermediate Championships finals, the final national tournament of the IABA’s Centenary year, at Dublin’s National Stadium last night.
A report on the night’s proceedings courtesy of the IABA.
Cairn Lodge light-flyweight Thomas Waite secured the first belt on offer at the home of Irish boxing, the Belfast teenager posting an impressive 12-5 decision over Jonathan McCabe.
Hughie Myres also emerged victorious, the Ryston BC flyweight, who found the target with some crisp shots in the second frame, earning a 13-7 verdict over Jamie Higgins.
“The first round finished level and it was very close, I was told to up the tempo in the second and it worked out very well as I landed some good punches to the head and the body,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mayo bantamweight Michelle Chambers shaded a 15-14 decision over Rosemary Doherty, while Michael Nevin ran out a 16-9 winner over Gary McKenna in the men’s 54Kg class.
Michelle Lynch had five points to spare over Tipperary’s Shauna O’Keefe in the 57Kg decider, the third meeting between the duo this year, Lynch, from the Golden Gloves club in Mayo, now having won two.
Dubliner George Bates used his height advantage to see off the challenge of Chris Nevin, and Carla Wright forced Sabina Mason into a standing count en-route to claiming the women’s lightweight belt.
Neither Jason Conroy or Barry O’Hara had to go looking for each other in the ring, both trading leather all the way down to the final bell of a pulsating three-rounder that won a deserved ovation from ringside,
The frame scoring told its own story; O’Hara, from the Immaculata BC in Belfast, winning the first 7-6, but Conroy, of the Crumlin club, edging 15-14 in front going into the third.
It appeared that Conroy’s less spectacular work on the inside would be enough to secure victory in the third. However, O’Hara blasted home with two big hooks late on.
No surprise then that it went to a countback following a 22-22 tie, and it was O’Hara’s hand that was raised in triumph (109-102) on accepted scores, – scores which emphasised the volume of punches being thrown – from the contest of the night.
“It could have gone either way in the end.That’s the way with countbacks and thankfully it went my way. I knew this one was always going to be close – but this was really close, said O’Hara.
“I knew that I had to start throwing some more combinations in the third. I threw some big shots at the start of that round and I finally started getting through with them until near the end.”
Moira McElligot, Nicole Hammil, David Roche, Clare Grace and Paul Upton also won, Upton denying the Riverstown club in Cork a second title with an 18-11 win over Mark Fitzpatrick from another top class contest.
Christy Joyce pulled away from sharing the first round 3-3 with Emmet Brennan to secure the 71Kg crown with a narrow 11-10 win, while Chris Blaney left Bernard Roe with it all to do after taking a 12-8 lead into the third and final frame of the 75Kg final.
It was a deficit that proved beyond the Dubliner as the impressive Blaney picked off another six points in the final three minutes to seal an 18-9 win.
The victory also landed Blaney – who narrowly lost in the 2010 Intermediate final – a tenth Irish title.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won, especially after last year, said the new champion.
“I though it began to swing in my favour in the second. It was a tough one though as Bernard is a top class boxer.”
Meantime, JP Delaney secured the double for the Immaculata BC – the second brace of the night for Belfast as the Gleann club also won two – with a 20-12 verdict over Eamon Walsh.
However, the Ulster light-heavyweight had to work hard for this win as Walsh made a storming start to the first round which finished 7-7. Delaney edged the second 4-3 leaving it all to play for in the third.
Never-say-die Kris Sikora staged yet another big comeback to secure the heavyweight title for the St Francis club in Limerick.
The Poland-born Shannonsider was trailing by five points going into the final round versus the experienced Danny Tourish of Donegal but pulled it out of the fire for the second time in seven days to win 22-20.
“Polish technique, Irish heart,” said a delighted Ken Moore, who was working Sikora’s corner along with Sean Carrig this evening.
Tonight’s win also ensured that the St Francis club have won national titles in 14 consecutive seasons since 1998.
Belfast’s Chris Devanney also knows a thing or two about comebacks. The Dockers super-heavyweight was trailing 5-3 at the end of the first against Galway’s Michael McDonagh tonight.
However, he was 18-9 up when the final bell tolled on the final contest of the 2011 National Intermediate Championships.
One hundred and eighty four boxers took part in the 2011 Championships.
2011 National Intermediate Finals December 9th National Stadium Dublin
48Kg: Emma Duffy (Crumlin) W/O
50Kg: Claudia Enright (Kilmallock) W/O
48Kg: Thomas Waite (Cairn Lodge) beat Jonathan McCabe (Holy Family Drogheda) 12-5
52Kg: Michaela Jannick (Cavan) W/O
51Kg; Hughie Myres (Ryston) beat Jamie Higgins (St Davids) 13-7
54Kg: Michelle Chambers (Castlebar) beat Rosemary Doherty (Cardnonagh) 15-14
54Kg: Michael Nevin (Portlaoise) beat Gary McKenna (Smithboro) 16-9
57Kg: Michelle Lynch (Golden Gloves) beat Shauna O’Keefe (Clonmel) 13-8
57Kg: George Bates (St Marys) beat Chris Nevin (Holy Family Drogheda) 17-12
60Kg: Carla Wright (Gleann) beat Sabina Mason (Bray) 15-8
60Kg: Barry O’Hara (Immaculata) beat Jason Conroy (Crumlin) 22-22 c/b 109-102
63Kg: Moira McElligot (Rathkeale) beat Carla McNaul (Castlereagh) 20-13
64Kg: David Roche (Riverstown) beat Stephen Coughlan (Bray) 14-13
66Kg: Nicole Hamill (Gleann) beat Deborah O’Reilly (St Pats) 15-14
67Kg: Paul Upton (Holy Family GG) beat Mark Fitzpatrick (Riverstown) 18-11
70Kg: Clare Grace (Callan) v Lisa Brown (Eagle)
71Kg: Christy Joyce (St Michaels Athy) beat Emmet Brennan (Corinthians) 11-10
75Kg: Chris Blaney (Navan) beat Bernard Roe (Dublin Docklands) 18-9
80Kg: Avril Fox (Rathkeale) W/O
81Kg: JP Delaney (Immaculata) beat Eamon Walsh (St Annes) 20-12
85Kg: Denis O’Donnell (Dungloe) W/O
91Kg: Kris Sikora (St Francis) beat Danny Tourish (Twintowns) 22-20
91Kg+: Chris Devanney (Dockers) beat Michael McDonagh (Olympic) 18-9