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'Quick Park' IABA 2016 Irish Elite Finals - Review
by Michael O'Neill
December 4, 2015
Photos courtesy: IABA.IE

(DEC 4)  The 2016 IABA Women’s Elite championships drew to a close at the National Stadium in Dublin at the weekend with some excellent performances from a number of boxers, and not all of them winners.

The bout which attracted most attention in the National media was that in which young Clonmel BC boxer, Shauna O’Keeffe gloved off against Olympic and five times world champion Katie Taylor making a welcome return to the ring.

Taylor v O’Keeffe 60 kg final

No surprise though as to who the 2016 champion is . Katie Taylor now holds an unprecedented set of titles – Olympic, World, European Union, European Championships and European Games crowns as well as her Irish titles but amazingly it was her first bout against an Irish woman since she beat Alanna Murphy in the first officially sanctioned female bout in Ireland at the National Stadium in 2001.

64kg champ Kelly Harrington

She told the ‘Irish Examiner’s boxing correspondent Bernard O’Neill : “I’m delighted with the win and delighted to have got the opportunity to box for an Irish title for the first time” said the AIBA World No. 1 ranked lightweight. Come 1st January she will have been World ranked no.1 for 10 years, a record unlikely to be broken unless by the Bray woman herself.

She took time out to praise her opponent’s performance when they met after the final and again in the media.

“I would like to thank Shauna for such a good fight tonight. She’s a talented boxer. This is my first competitive fight since the European Games in Baku earlier this year.

“The Olympic qualifiers are next April in Turkey and then there’s the World Championships, I welcome competitive fights ahead of those qualifiers.”

O’Keeffe surprised many of the pundits with a fine display and truth to tell the final scorecard did not do justice to the great effort she put in. (40:34 40:36 40:36) . So how did she see the bout?

Shauna told ‘Fightstore’s Liam McInerney : “I feel unbelievable there are no words to describe how I’m feeling. I wanted to go in and perform and put on a good show and that’s exactly what I did. Nobody in the whole of Ireland can take the experience that I just got off her.

“The whole of my hometown Clonmel have been following my every fight and they all got on a bus to watch me tonight and they helped me in the ring.

“I plan on going into next year and taking over the 60kg. I wish Katie Taylor all the best and I hope I fill her boots. She told me to keep training hard and she told me I’m the future.”

She also told RTE Sport: “I’m very happy with the defeat"

"I know it’s a weird thing to be saying. But there’s no one in the whole of Ireland that got into the ring with Katie Taylor and can say that they got beat by Katie Taylor.

"I went in and I left my mark with Katie. I gave it to her. I’m 21 years of age. This is only the start for me,” adding that she was now setting out on the Road to Tokyo 2020 which she believes will be her big year. Good Luck to Shauna in her future ring career.

Michaela Walsh denied Ceire Smith a sixth title in the flyweight class, the Belfast stand out dropping down a weight from bantam to take a unanimous decision in one of the Olympic weight classes for women.

Lauren Hogan secured the first belt on offer on a split following a close contest with Donna Barr. “Lauren is only nineteen and she has already won two Irish Elite titles. We’re absolutely thrilled with the win,” said coach Liam Brereton.

European Elite bronze medallist Clare Grace also emerged victorious, the Kilkenny welter beating Grainne Walsh. Moira McElligott and multiple champion Kelly Harrington triumphed at the expense of Joanne Lambe and Cheyanne O’Neill, while Dervla Duffy earned a majority decision over Elaine Harrison after one judge scored it even.

This was in fact the 6th occasion on which Kelly has had her hand raised in victory in these championships whilst Dervla Duffy also added another to her already impressive Championship record when she overcame a strong challenge from Elaine Harrison.

Diana Campbell took the last belt on offer and brought the curtain down on the Women’s Championships on a unanimous decision over Maeve McCarron. Cork’s Christina Desmond received a walkover in the 75kg final.

There were of course some very close fights and a few contentious decisions, as always. See for yourselves the actual bouts and form your own views on bouts such as Hogan v Barr, Walsh v Smith and Lambe v McElligott as well as the O’Keeffe v Taylor final

Finals – Results:

48kg Lauren Hogan (St Brigid’s Edenderry) beat Donna Barr (Twin Towns) 2-1
51kg Michaela Walsh (Holy Family GG) beat Ceire Smith (Cavan) 3-0
54kg Dervla Duffy (St Brigids Kildare) beat Elaine Harrison (Ardnaree) 2-0
57kg Moira McElligott (St Michael’s Athy) beat Joanne Lambe (Carrickmacross) 2-1
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray) beat Shauna O’Keeffe (Clonmel) 3-0
64kg Kelly Harrington (Glasnevin) beat Cheyanne O’Neill (Athlone) 3-0
69kg Clare Grace (Callan) beat Grainne Walsh (Sparticus) 3-0
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s) W/O
81+kg Diana Campbell (Garda) beat Maeve McCarron (Carrigart)

All the finals here – courtesy of IABA’s ‘You Tube’ coverage.

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