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Ireland name team for France clash
26 Nov 2014 19:07
The Irish Amateur Boxing Association have named a team packed with current and former elite champions and Olympians for Friday’s international clash with France at the National Stadium in Dublin.
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Two-time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes and Adam Courtney have been named in the flyweight class for the visit of Les Bleus.
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Hugh Myers and exciting Belfast prospect Brendan Irvine line out at light-fly, while AIBA world youth bronze medallist Kurt Walker and Gary McKenna will wear the Irish bantamweight vests.
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The experienced George Bates and world elite quarter-finalist Sean McComb carry Ireland’s lightweight hopes. Dean Walsh, Ross Hickey and London 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan will also be in action at the South Circular Road venue.
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He said: “France are building toward the Olympic qualifiers like ourselves and they have a talented squad coming to Dublin. We met a few of their boxers at the European Union Championships earlier this year and those were very tough bouts.
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“We’re anticipating a very competitive meeting on Friday at the National Stadium.There will be no easy bouts against this talented French team.”
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“We’ve had some great battles with France down through the years. This is a new emerging French team, and, as they proved at the European Union Championships, they are starting to come good again as we head into the qualifiers for the Rio Olympics.”
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Multiple Irish elite champion Darren O’Neill, who captained Team Ireland at the London Olympics, believes that the meeting with France is an ideal way for Ireland’s established stars and emerging prospects to bid adieu to 2014 and build up toward 2015.
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O’Neill also wants to see the Irish team build on the feel good factor generated by Katie Taylor’s historic gold medal win at the AIBA World Elite Women’s Championships in Jeju, South Korea, on Monday.
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“The French international is a good chance for people to view some of our well known top stars such as Paddy Barnes. It also gives people a chance to view some of our lesser known, up and coming stars such as Dean Walsh, said the Kilkenny southpaw and European Elite silver medallist.
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“It is a good way to close off the season and year ahead of a hectic Christmas before Nationals in the New Year and important and busy year next that includes European and World Championships along with the first ever European Games.
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“With some of our boys preparing to enter the WSB franchises it is also a good blow out for them to measure their fitness and levels before competition.”
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