An exceptionally strong and dominant Irish squad of 25 competed in the European Junior Championships in Anapa, Russia. Team Ireland enjoyed huge success as 8 out of their 13 female boxers brought home medals. Tipperary’s Ellie Mai-Gartland (Clonmel) and Kildare’s Lauren Dempsey (Ryston) were amongst the medal winners as they both won gold after hugely impressive performances.
Ireland’s record medal haul and overall squad performance left them with a brilliant 27 wins from 50 bouts. As a result of this, they finished a notable third on the overall rankings table behind the hosts Russia and England respectively.
16-year old boxer Ellie Mai-Gartland outclassed and out-boxed her Romanian counterpart, Maria Gheorghe to claim gold. Mai-Gatland showed high quality footwork and timing to ease to victory on a unanimous decision. The Clonmel boxer is a 3-time Irish Champion competing in the 54kg class. In both the quarter-final and semi-final she claimed victory defeating her Bulgarian and English opponents with ease, both also on unanimous decision. Mai-Gatland remains unbeaten in all of her 18 fights, with 7 being against international opponents. After her victory she praised the support she has received from her coaches.
Speaking to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA), ‘It means everything to me, it’s a dream come true. I have been training so hard the past year for this moment and I couldn’t have done any of it without the help of my brother/coach Jamie Lonergan and my other coach Martin Fennessy.
“I’d like to thank them for putting the effort into me, training me morning noon and night, helping me make the weight and bringing me sparring,” added the new champion who along with Dempsey also thanked the Irish coaches and staff.’
Kildare’s Lauren Dempsey followed Mai-Gatland’s gold with a spectacular performance to stun the home crowd and defeat Azalia Aminva with a 3-2 split decision. Competing at 57kg, Dempsey dug deep to keep her composure and box her way to gold. On the way to the final the Ryston BC boxer defeated both Josefin Betist of the Netherlands and Michaela Turacova of Slovakia on unanimous decisions.
In conversation with IABA, she said: “To be honest today was the best day of my life. I worked so hard to get where I am today and I can’t believe it. I have never believed in myself until today. I’m so grateful for it and I just can’t believe it, all the hard work that my trainers put into me mentally and physically, I just can’t believe it.”
Lisa O’Rourke from Castlerea BC and Sinainn Glynn from Cloghan BC were defeated in their respective finals to take home silver. Both boxers showed great skill and technique on route to the final and can look forward to more success in the future.
Finally, Leanne Murphy (Togher), Leah Gallen (Raphoe), Kaitlyn Doyle (St Brigids Kildare), Kori Goad (Cahen Vale) and Breda Quilligan (Rathkeale) all managed to claim bronze after defeat in the semi-finals.
All in all, Ireland will be hugely impressed by all the performances of their respective boxers. Performing at a high-level on the international stage will stand to these boxers and will be hopeful of representing their country at future tournaments.
All eyes will be on tonight’s bronze medal final as Dearbhla Rooney takes on Te Edmonds of New Zealand for Bronze at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Irish Female Squad:
46kg – Breda Quilligan (Rathkeale)
48kg – Chloe Gabriel (Mulhuddart)
50kg – Rachel Lawless (Portlaoise)
52kg – Niamh Fay (Swords)
54kg – Ellie Mai Gartland (Clonmel)
57kg – Lauren Dempsey (Ryston)
60kg – Sinainn Glynn (Cloghan)
63kg – Leanne Murphy (Togher)
66kg – Leah Gallen (Raphoe)
70kg – Lisa O’Rourke (Castlerea)
75kg – Kaitlyn Doyle (St Brigids Kildare)
80kg – Bethany Doocey (Castlebar)
80kg+ – Kori Goad (Cahen Vale).