By Rob Wright
Katie Taylor has guaranteed herself at least a bronze medal at the London Olympics after a comprehensive victory in the women's lightweight boxing quarter-final over Great Britain's Natasha Jonas.
The Bray fighter was in charge throughout the bout and Jonas had no answer for her accuracy, her intensity or her punching power.
Taylor ran out a 26-15 winner after the four rounds, forcing her opponent to take two standing counts during the fight.
Taylor made the walk to the ring to a rapturous reception and for the first time during the London games, the Great Britain supporters took a back seat, being out-sung and out-cheered by a huge Irish crowd.
The 26-year-old looked calm and collected as she entered the ring and was out of the blocks first as she took the fight to Jonas during the opening round.
Taylor connected with a powerful flurry of punches after just 30 seconds, looking to have scored with at least two of her shots.
Jonas was struggling to find her range, hitting air as Taylor jumped in and then danced out of trouble and although she managed to connect with her left on the counter, Jonas was off the pace and lost the first round 5-2.
To her credit, Jonas took the fight to the four-time World Champion in the second round and had the Irish woman reeling in the first minute of the second round.
A more aggressive Jonas was working well behind her left jab and landing scoring blows as Taylor struggled with the awkward angled punches that the Liverpool fighter was throwing.
A slip from Taylor gave her the chance to regroup and she managed to slow the pace of the fight with two powerful body shots as she regained control.
"I knew the support was going to be good here but I didn’t realise it was going to be so great" - Katie Taylor
A scoreline of 5-5 was a fair reflection on the round, but that was as good as it was to get for Jonas.
Knowing that the fight was at a crossroads, Taylor came out full of purpose and immediately had Jonas on the back foot.
Two stinging right hooks rattled the southpaw and Taylor pressed home her advantage as another powerful right caught Jonas flush and forced her into a standing count.
Jonas was now looked spent. Her defence was increasingly ragged and although she was still having limited joy with her left jab, Taylor was scoring freely and took the round 9-4.
Taylor was again right in Jonas' face at the start of the fourth round, forcing the exhausted Liverpool woman back.
All the strength had gone from Jonas at this stage and her punches lacked the power she has displayed in the second round.
The reigning world champion was blocking anything Jonas could muster with ease and rocking her opponent as she seemingly scored at will on the counter.
The fight was already over as a contest when Jonas was forced to take her second standing count of the afternoon and Taylor pressed home her advantage to win the final round 7-4.
Next up for the Irish fighter is the semi-final where she will take on Manzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan, who beat China’s Cheng Dong 13-8 in their quarter-final.
Afterwards Taylor paid tribute to the huge contingent of Irish supporters in the crowd, who cheered her on the way to victory.
"It was unbelievable here, I couldn’t wait to get out. I just tried to stay calm and composed throughout the whole thing but it was hard not get excited at the end," she told RTÉ Sport.
Taylor also revealed that she went off plan in the second round and felt that she allowed Jonas too much of an opportunity to get back into the fight.
"I didn’t do what I was told in the second round, I was staying in there a bit too long and getting caught with back hands.
"I was happy to stay three points up after the second round so I just had to push her back in the third round and thankfully I got a good lead for the last round."