Broadhurst and O’Rourke share Irish Times/Sports Ireland Sportswoman of month award for May

Pair delivered more boxing glory for Ireland by claiming two World Championship gold medals in Istanbul

We’re hardly strangers to boxing success, the sport having given us a heap of golden moments down the years, two of our former Sportswomen of the Year, Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington, providing a fair few of them.

But still, two World Championship gold medals in less than an hour in Istanbul last month was more than a little special.

Taylor, Harrington and Michael Conlan had been our only amateur world champions until then, but by the time Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke’s work was done in Turkey, we had five, the pair adding their names to Irish boxing’s roll of honour.

Broadhurst made it four with her victory over Algeria’s Imane Khelif in the 60-63kg final, the 25-year-old Dundalk woman, who was making her fifth appearance in the World Championships, overcoming her opponent’s five-inch height advantage to take gold on a unanimous points decision.

Having suffered her fair share of disappointments through her career, not least at the 2018 World Championships in India when she was robbed by the judges of victory in the quarter-finals over a local fighter, this was a magical moment for Broadhurst – and it’s fitting that she follows her hero Taylor in our 2022 monthly awards list.

Broadhurst is a close friend of the world champion who invited her to her Connecticut base to spar with her in the run-up to Taylor’s fight against Amanda Serrano. They proved to be highly useful opponents for each other.

No sooner had a celebrating Broadhurst left the ring in Istanbul when her team-mate Lisa O’Rourke, making her debut at the World Championships, was entering it for her 70kg final against Alcinda Panguane of Mozambique, the 20-year-old from Roscommon earning her gold medal on a 4-1 split decision.

Sister of another of Ireland’s finest fighters, Aoife, O’Rourke is a gifted sporting all-rounder, playing Gaelic football for her county and with a few basketball medals to her name too.

Both women collected prize money of $100,000 for their successes, which will be no small help in allowing them focus on their sport, although both face tricky decisions in the run-up to the next Olympics with neither of the weight categories they fought in in Turkey included in the Paris programme.

That’s a decision for another day, for now the pair can just savour the finest achievements of their careers to date. Pure gold.

Previous Monthly Winners (the awards run from December 2021 to November 2022, inclusive):

December: Ellen Walshe (Swimming). The 20-year-old Dubliner became the first Irish woman to medal at a World Championships and the first ever, male or female, to do so in an Olympic event when she took silver in the 400m Individual Medley at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi. Along the way, she broke five Irish records, smashing the oldest, Michelle Smith’s 1994 400m Individual Medley mark.

January: Lucy Mulhall (Rugby). The Wicklow woman captained Ireland to their first ever World Rugby Sevens Series final in Seville where they were two minutes away from beating Australia, before conceding two late tries. It was a hugely encouraging run of results by Ireland, which lifted them to fifth in the world rankings, Mulhall leading from the front and earning a place in the team of the tournament.

February: Leona Maguire (Golf). Maguire became the first Irish woman to win on the LPGA Tour when she triumphed at the Drive On Championship in Florida, a victory that sent her in to the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time. She was in fine form again last weekend when she registered her first top 10 finish at the US Open.

March: Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing). The Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle, followed by the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard – let’s just say, Blackmore’s trip to Cheltenham this year went rather well. In winning both races, she became the first jockey since Tony McCoy in 1997 to achieve the feat at the same meeting, making her the holder of those two crowns, as well as the Grand National, all at the same time.

April: Katie Taylor (Boxing). Our five-time Sportswoman of the Year made herself a contender for the overall award yet again after an epic fight against Amanda Serrano in front of a crowd of close to 20,000 in Madison Square Garden. The 35-year-old, now unbeaten in 21 professional fights, retained her WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO lightweight titles with a split decision victory.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times