Boxing: Adam Nolan and Darren O’Neill into national finals
Dean Walsh claims a split-decision win over James Cleary in light-welterwight clash
Adam Nolan, red shorts, in action during his win over Michael Bustard during the National Elite Men’s semi-final at the National Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
London 2012 Olympians Adam Nolan and Darren O’Neill cruised through to the finals of the 2016 men’s National Elite Championships after their respective semi-finals wins at the National Stadium last night.
The 2016 tournament is being held early to avoid clashing with the build-up to international Olympic qualifiers next year, and Kilkenny heavyweight O’Neill booked his final place in impressive style.
The former middleweight European silver medallist stopped Belfast opponent Stephen McMonagle after sending the Holy Trinity fighter to the canvas with a heavy blow, and a big left uppercut from O’Neill forced a second count for McMonagle and the end of the bout.
Bray-based welterweight (69kg) Nolan recorded a unanimous points win over Antrim’s Michael Bustard, controlling the fight throughout and boxing in a slightly more aggressive style than his usual approach.
Split decisionJames Cleary
Light-welterweight (64kg) champion Walsh landed shots while on the move, with Cleary, moving forward with effective pressure, but the former held on for a split-decision win.
“I take my hat off to James, it was a close fight and it could have went either way,” admitted a gracious Walsh, nephew of former Ireland head coach Billy.
In last night’s opener, European underage champion John Joyce booked a middleweight (75kg) semi-final clash with world medallist Michael O’Reilly tonight after overcoming Fearghus Quinn of Camlough on a split call.
Regan Buckley (49kg), TJ Waite (52kg) and Christopher Blaney (81kg) all claimed split-decision wins, while Irish bantamweight (56kg) champion Kurt Walker won via unanimous decision against Colin O’Donovan of Togher.
Super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner was awarded a walkover.