Darren Sutherland claimed the middleweight place on the Irish team for the final Olympic qualifier for European boxers in Greece next month following a box-off victory over his great rival Darren O'Neill at the National Stadium in Dublin last night.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association were using the box-off as a selection process for the Irish squad for the qualifiers, which take place in Athens between 7 and 14 April.

Sutherland, from the St Saviours club in Dublin, and O'Neill, of the Paulstown club in Kilkenny, were locked at 4-4 at the end of the second round.

But Sutherland, who received a public warning for a low blow in the third, and who beat O'Neill in January's 75kg senior final, took the final two rounds en-route to a 15-8 verdict.

St Michael's Athy welterweight John Joe Joyce recorded the most impressive victory of last night's session, a 34-7 win over Crumlin's Jamie Kavangh.

There were wins also for Conor Ahern, David Oliver Joyce, Ross Hickey, Tommy Sheahan, and Willie McLoughlin, who edged out John Joe McDonagh by one point.

Irish captain Ken Egan will also be competing in Athens after his opponent, Michael Mullaney, retired at the start of the third round with Egan 9-0 up.

Light flyweight Paddy Barnes, from the Holy Family club in Belfast, and Cavan bantamweight John Joe Nevin have already qualified for the Olympics.

There will be 25 Olympic places on offer for European boxers in Athens.