EBRINGTON SQUARE’s magnificent new arena, The Venue, is set to host the first ever Ulster Senior Boxing tournament to be held in Derry as the much anticipated Elite Championships Finals are staged tonight.
SIMON COLLINS reports
It may not be the iconic, traditional venue of the Ulster Hall but Derry has a long tradition in amateur boxing and The Venue promises to be a spectacular arena for the prestigious event.
The competition gloved-off on Tuesday night at Pilot’s Row Community Centre with the preliminary rounds and quarter-finals and the final schedule was completed on Wednesday night following the semi-finals and there will plenty of interest for local fight fans in tonight’s final.
One of Derry’s own amateur boxers, St Joseph’s A.B.C middlweight, Conor Coyle successfully navigated his way through his semi-final bout against
Stephen Flynn with a second round stoppage and he will be hoping to be crowned Ulster champion in front of his hometown support to make the event that little bit more special.
The Galliagh man takes on J. P Delaney of Lower Fall’s Road club, Immaculata in a repeat of the 2011 light-heavyweight decider where Coyle lost out by a 9-8 margin.
It will also be a bittersweet evening for Raphoe’s female boxer, Caroline Connolly who will collect her third Ulster senior gold medal and certificate despite not being in action on the night.
Indeed, the Altnagelvin Hospital nurse was disappointed to have received a walkover in her light heavyweight final having failed to be matched with an opponent.
Meanwhile, Errigal light-welterweight Michael Glendenning is certain to bring a strong support as he challenges for the Ulster title in what promises to be one of the contests of the night against Holy Trinity’s Sean Duffy.
Duffy ended St Joe’s member, Kevin McIntrye’s hopes of a final appearamnce with a dominant 30-9 victory in the semi-finals on Wednseday night.
And Illies GG member, John Cassidy will also hope to bring gold to Inishowen when he takes on T. J. Waite of Cairn Lodge.
The attendance will be also be treated to the finals of the Ulster 9 Counties and there could be glory for local boxers as Oakleaf ABC’s Ryan Green takes on Daniel Lindsay of St Agnes in a 50kg contest.
The full bill for tonight’s finals is as follows - Ulster 9 Counties Boys/Girls Championship Finals - 50kg Ryan Green 9Oakleaf) v Daniel Lindsay (St Agnes); 54kg - Andrew Donnelly (Townland) v Conor Martin (Banbridge); 57kg; Dylan Duffy (Pegasus) v James O’Brien (Finn-Valley); 75kg; Terence Ward (Twin-Towns) v Francis Mongan (Finn-Valley); Ulster Elite Championships Finals - Flyweight 48kg; Olivia Samsonow (Old School) v walkover; Light Flyweight 49kg; T.J Waite (Cairn Lodge) v John Cassidy (Illies GG); Bantamweight 51kg (women) Ceire Smith (Cavan) v Nicole Meli (Immaculata); Flyweight 52kg; Colin McKay (St. Paul’s) v Ruairi Dalton (Holy Trinity); Featherweight 54kg (women); Christine Gargan (St. George’s) v walkover; Bantamweight 56kg; Anthony O’Rawe (Braid) v Sean Higginson (St. John Bosco); Lightweight 57kg (women); Joanne Lambe (Carrickmacross) v Michaela Walsh (Holy Family GG); Light welterweight 60kg (women); Alanna Murphy (Eastside) v walkover; Lightweight 60kg; Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) v Joseph Fitzpatrick (Immaculata); Welterweight 64kg (women); Sarah Close (Holy Family GG) v Carly McNaul (Eastside);
Lightwelter 64kg; Sean Duffy (Holy Trinity) v Michael Glendenning (Errigal); Middleweight 69kg (women); Joanna Barclay (Holy Family) v walkover; Welterweight 69kg; Stephen Donnelly (All Saints) v Stephen Mulholland (St. Malachy’s); Light heavyweight 75kg (women); Caroline Connolly (Raphoe) v walkover; Middleweight 75kg; J.P. Delaney (Immaculata) v Conor Coyle (St. Joseph’s); Light heavyweight 81kg; Stephen O’Reilly (Twin-Towns) v Ryan Donnelly (Bishop Kelly); Super Heavyweight 81+kg; Leanne McAree Murphy (Carrickmacross) walkover; Heavyweight 91kg; Stephen Ward (Monkstown) v walkover; Super heavyweight 91+kg; Colin McCabe (Ligoneil) v Jason Barron (St. Pat’s).