The curtain fell on the National Senior Cadet Amateur Boxing Championships in the National Stadium Dublin on Sunday past, with just one boxer from Ulster claiming an All-Ireland title.
After two packed weekends of boxing, Oakleaf A.B.C.’s Ryan Green scooped the 52 kgs. title and the Derry lad had to do it the hard way, by winning three very tough contests before causing a sensation when defeating the current European Schoolboy Champion, James McGivern, representing the St. George’s Amateur Boxing Club (Belfast) in the final.
Fifteen-years-old Green is now in line to represent Ireland in the forthcoming European and World Championships which are both being held in Russia in June and August this year.
Throughout the two weekends tournament in Dublin, Green displayed a maturity far beyond his years, having opted to switch his tactics in each of his four high profile contests.
And the St Joseph’s Boys student emerged Ulster’s only winner at these top quality championships, a measure of just how tough this particular competiton is.
In his final against McGivern, the Oakleaf boxer put tne European champion under immediate pressure from the first bell, knocking the Belfast lad off his stride, Green successfully landing scoring shots to both the head and body at will.
And to the delight of his clubmates who watched the final, it was Green’s hand which was raised by the referee following an impressive 12-8 points victory and a superb victory.
However, while there was delight at Green’s significant success, the Brandywell club also experienced disappointment when popular member, Francie Stokes, lost out in his final on points.
Irish champion, Stokes faced St. Michael’s A.B.C. (Athy) member, Willie Donahue in his final and, if truth be told, the St. Columb’s College pupil was feeling the effects of a hard-working semi-final performance.
Francie actually produced a top notch display to defeat five times All-Ireland champion, Frankie Cleary, and it was clear that that effort had taken its toll in the final.
Stokes refused to make it easy for his opponent, but all credit to Donaghue who had defeated another European Champion in Louis McCarthy in his semi-final after another committed display.
After winning his quarter-final in great style, Oakleaf’s Brett McGinty also lost out on points to another former European gold medallist, John Joyce St. Michael’s (Athy).
Oakleaf coaches, Kevin McGilloway and Christy Doherty, summed up the Brandywell club’s performances when suggesting that this season’s All-Ireland Cadet Championships boasted great quality in every weight category,
They extended their congratulations to Ryan Green on his hugely impressive performance, adding that this victory was the club’s fifth Irish title is as many weeks.
They were also full of praise for young Stokes and McGinty for doing so well, stating that both were actualy a year young for this tournament and both can enter again next year. The experience gained will prove invaluable.