Fireworks to the Last at County Championships
(Connacht Tribune Sports Section)

     The thrills and crowd-pleasing bravery continued to the final bout of the County Championships, after three long sessions, culminating at the Gym, Westside on Sunday. The capacity crowd had waited to see the odds on favourite, Ned Delaney of Olympic, following his relentless victory over Paul Lambert (O/ard) in the semi-final of the Boy3:48kg category. His opponent, Martin Mongan of Ballinasloe, however, had his own view on the destiny of the title and in a rousing first round met the aggression of Delaney with a fierce opposition and a long left lead, which dampened Delaney's ability to penetrate with his usual deadly array of punches. The second was just as strongly contested, and when Mongan managed to follow his leading left with a strong right, the crowd sensed how finely poised this titanic contest had become. Delaney resumed his attack in the third, but the crowd had a hero in Mongan, battling away and still throwing his dangerous long lefts to keep Delaney under pressure. A deep roar greeted the 6:5 verdict in Mongan's favour. Quite a way to finish the championships.
     The first final of the evening had pitted the more athletic Patrick Barrett of Olympic against the careful, spider like stalking of Tobar Pheadair's Ben Gabriel at Boy1:39kg. Gabriel's accurate left and ability to avoid the counter served him well in the first two rounds, but Barrett's final round, showcased by one flurry, ending with a strong right swung the contest in his favour. This was followed by a promising show by young Loughrea boxer Ryan Dervan against Cian Darcy (T/Pheadair) in the Boy1:44kg decider. Dervan moved onto the attack from the start, punching well and established a good lead in the first round. The second round brought the best from both boxers, as they faced each other squarely in the ring, and though Dervan again seemed to have the better of the exchanges, Darcy made things more difficult for him. Darcy came storming back into it in a great final round, and were it not for some good rights and a strong purpose, Dervan might have had difficulty holding on for the win.
     David Quinn (T/Pheadair) (Boy3:36kg) had a clear win over Kane O'Malley (M/Flaherty), proving too aggressive and accurate with his left jab throughout. Michael Mongan (Oly) gave away too much in height and reach to Patrick Ward (Tuam) in the final of the Boy1:46kg class. He was a plucky little tyke from the minute the bell went, and came out for the final round whipping both fists, trying to get under his taller opponent's guard, but Ward had the guile to avoid this tactic, while scoring regularly with well-timed combinations to take the title. A contest, thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd, was that between another Olympic performer, Patrick Ward, and Sean Sweeney of Loughrea at Boy1:50kg. Sweeney was slightly the taller of the two boxers and was able to land a few scoring shots over Ward's defences. Meanwhile Ward moved quickly and with purpose, but found it difficult to breach Sweeney's bulwarks. Sweeney edged round one and round two was even. Ward went on the attack in the third round to make up lost ground, and while this made for great excitement and brought the crowd to its feet, Sweeney managed to take advantage of every opening to score with both fists. Though Sweeney emerged victorious the crowd showed its appreciation for both boxers.
This was followed by a Boy2:31kg final, in which Bernie Corcoran (B/sloe) and Michael McDonagh (O/ard) served up another tasty dish for the capacity crowd. These lightweights were full of endeavour and movement, both throwing lots of punches, Corcoran possibly shading it as they faced into the last round. Then the sparks really began to fly and Corcoran even managed to survive a warning before being declared the winner.
     A fascinating bout developed between Ted Mongan (L/rea) and William Barrett (Oly) for the Boy2:46kg crown. Barrett began impressively, throwing punches with both fists at Mongan's head and torso. However, Mongan never showed any sign of wilting and covered himself well in defence, then delivered a strong riposte to the attacks he had withstood. The second round repeated the same pattern, Mongan turning from defence and going on the attack, despite the ferocity and agility of Barrett. Again in the third, Mongan picked his moments to attack well and finished the fight in the ascendant. The decision was tight, but went in Mongan's favour.
In an all Olympic affair, the Boy3:63kg title went to Michael Barrett, who eventually made his left jab pay dividends in the final round against Anthony Ward. Michael Ward (M/vea) had a good win in the Boy2:60kg final over Bernard McDonagh (Oly).

Semi-Finals: B3:39 Martin Ward (L/rea) bt Darragh Thornton (M/Flaherty), B3:39 Martin Lawrence (L/rea) bt Martin Donovan (T/P), Martin Mongan (B/sloe) W/O, B3:48 Ned Delaney (Oly) bt Paul Lambert (O/ard).
Finals: B1:39 Patrick Barrett (Oly) bt Ben Gabriel (T/Pheadair), B1:44 Ryan Dervan (L/rea) bt Cian D'Arcy (T/P), B1:46 Patrick Ward (Tuam) bt Michael Mongan (Oly), B1:50 Sean Sweeney (L/rea) bt Patrick Ward (Oly), B2:31 Bernie Corcoran (B/sloe) bt Michael McDonagh (O/ard), B2:36 Albert McDonagh (O/ard) bt Sean Gibbons (O/ard), B2:42 Peter Flaherty (Oly) W/O, B2:44 Stephen Tierney (O/ard) W/O, B2:46 Ted Mongan (L/rea) bt William Barrett (Oly), Robert Kerins (L/rea) bt Jason Bourke (T/P), B2:60 Michael Ward (M/vea) bt Bernard McDonagh (Oly), B3:36 David Quinn (T/P) bt Kane O'Malley (M Flaherty), B3:42 Joe Shaughnessy (O/ard) bt Aaron Casey (O/ard), B3:44 Patrick Gibbons (O/ard) bt Matthew Connelly (L/rea), B3:60 Michael Barrett (Oly) bt Anthony Ward (Oly), B3:39 Martin Laurence (L/rea) bt Martin Ward (L/rea), B3:48 Martin Mongan bt Ned Delaney (Oly).

Galway Boxing Champions
(Loughrea Notes)

          Loughrea had one of its most successful years at the Galway boys boxing championships, which was held at the Westside Gym, Galway last weekend. The club won five titles and was in contention for the best club award right to the very end, only to be pipped by the Olympic club. The champions for the club were Boy1 44Kg Ryan Dervan, Boy1 50Kg Sean Sweeney, Boy 2 46Kg Ted Mongan, Boy2 50Kg Robert Kerins and Boy3 Martin Lawrence. The club also had two defeated finalists in Matthew Connelly and Martin Ward. Things could have been even better if flu victim Darragh Broderick was able to compete, after been an impressive winner at the semi-final stage. As the club celebrates its golden jubilee, the five boy's champions added to the four Youths champions makes this the most successful year for the club since 1983.