Seniors setting Stadium alight
The early heats of what promises to be the most thrilling National Elite Senior Championships in years got underway last night at the National Stadium.
It's Olympics year and while three Irish boxers have already qualified there's one more qualification opportunity for the men and that will be in Turkey in April.
To get there and give themselves a chance of representing Ireland in London, boxers have to prove they're the best of the Irish crop. So it's crunch time.
With 14 entrants, the lightweight division (60kg) looks like being the most hotly contested. Defending champion Michael McDonagh (St Mary's) will dispute honours with a line-up that includes such talent as St Michael's club men Eric Donovan (last year's finalist).
And Irish Olympic light-heavyweight silver medalist Kenny Egan (Neilstown) could be on a collision course with Youth champion Joe Ward (Moate) again this year.
Carr steals show at vintage Youths
The talent on display at last weekend's Open Youth Competition finals was evidence of the healthy state of amateur boxing in Ireland.
A total of 123 boxers entered the tournament and, with Thomas Conroy (Ballyhaunis) getting a walkover in the super-heavyweight (91Kg) final, the finals of nine other divisions were fiercely contested.
There were some cracking bouts including the middleweight (75kg) which Geoff Kavanagh (Corinthians) lost by one point (10-11) to Ryan Dervan (Loughrea).
John Joe McDonagh (Crumlin) won a high-scoring light-heavyweight final.
Standout performance of the day was by Ryston's Dylan Carr (no relation), who responded to a semi-final victory on countback to comfortably win each round against Hugh Nevin (Cavan).
Dylan joined Ross Hickey, Christy Joyce, Michael O'Reilly and Darren Pollock to pick up an Elite Individual Award at the IABA's annual awards bash at the Green Isle Hotel.