Commonwealth Games team preview: Northern Ireland
July 22nd, 2014 / All
Northern Ireland has been one of the most successful European boxing nations in recent years, and their talented squad are aiming for gold in the forthcoming boxing tournament in Glasgow.
Their strong Commonwealth Games line-ups contains eleven athletes, including two women and nine men’s fighters.
Their two London 2012 Olympic medallists Patrick Barnes and Michael Conlan are also members of the team.
The Tension and the Drama
Patrick Barnes and Michael Conlan both claimed bronze medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games two years ago, and will be looking to utilise their vast experience for success in the Games.
Barnes has bagged two bronze medals in the last two Olympic Games, and he is the defending titleholder of the Light Flyweight class (49 kg) in the Commonwealth Games.
The 27-year-old boxer fought at the Flyweight class (52 kg) in 2013, but now he has returned to his most successful class, and will be looking to defend his gold medal in Glasgow.
22-year-old Conlan also has experience from the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, and the silver medalist from the 2013 European Amateur Championships will be looking to reach the top of the podium in this tournament.
Ones to watch in the Commonwealth Games
Michaela Walsh and veteran Alanna Audley-Murphy will be the two women’s boxers in the Northern Irish squad.
Walsh was a quarter-finalist in the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships in Bucharest last month, enjoying a close bout against Russia’s AIBA World Champion Elena Saveleva, while EU Women’s Championships bronze medallist Murphy has plenty of talent, and could challenge for the medals in Glasgow.
Stephen Donnelly secured his first ever Irish title this year following his victory over London 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan in the final of the National Championships.
Donnelly was outpointed by an Australian boxer in New Delhi in 2010, but four years on he is considered one of the favourites of the Welterweight class (69 kg).
Steven Ward won the silver medal in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and the the Heavyweight class (91 kg) boxer wants to make it gold this time around.
Northern Irish facts at the Commonwealth Games
Ruairi Dalton (52 kg) joined the national squad at the 2008 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Guadalajara, and will be looking to impress in the huge international event.
Young stars Joseph Fitzpatrick (60 kg) and Sean Duffy (64 kg) have developed well in the recent years, and their upgraded skills are enough to eliminate top rivals in Glasgow.
Connor Coyle claimed the gold medal at the Ulster Championships, and with his silver medal from the Irish National Championships, he will have confidence that he can medal here as well, and he is more than a match for any athletes in the Middleweight class (75 kg) in Scotland.
Their Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) boxer will be Sean McGlinchey, who many are tipping as an outside bet for a medal.
Northern Ireland’s history in the event
Northern Ireland achieved its first medals in the boxing tournament of the 1934 Commonwealth Games in London, when William Duncan and James Magill won bronze medals.
Twenty four years later in 1958, Terry Milligan defeated all of his rivals in Cardiff and took Northern Ireland’s first gold medal in the history of the Games.
Northern Ireland topped the team rankings in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 ahead of the Indian and English teams.
Patrick Barnes, Patrick Gallagher and Eamonn O’Kane were the gold medallists in the last edition, and Barnes will be looking to defend his throne in Glasgow.