London 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill has secured his place in the 91kg final at the National Boxing Championships after he beat John Joe McDonagh by a unanimous decision in his semi-final tonight at the National Stadium in Dublin.
The Kilkenny southpaw, a four-time champion at middleweight, was making his Elite debut at heavyweight this evening and now Kenneth Okungbowa awaits in next weekend’s final following his victory over Stephen McMonagle.
Defending middleweight champion Michael O’Reilly will meet Stephen Broadhurst in the 75kg final.
Both boxers, who claimed medals for Ireland – O’Reilly silver, Broadhurst bronze – at the IABA-hosted 2011 European Youth Championships in Dublin, secured last-four victories.
O’Reilly, who boxes out of the Portlaoise BC, edged out Derry’s Conor Coyle on a split decision and Broadhurst unanimously beat Caoimhin Hynes.
European Elite bronze medallist Claire Grace is also through after the defending welterweight champion beat Jillian Duffy to set up the 69kg final with Cork’s Irish Youth Olympian and 2013 AIBA World Youth silver medallist Christina Desmond.
The vacant light-heavy belt will be disputed between Roy Sheahan, the 2006/07/08 champion, and Matthew Tinker, who reached the light-heavy final last year but was beaten by Joe Ward, who has relinquished the 81kg title as he has signed for AIBA Pro Boxing.
Sheahan and Tinker, the second St Francis BC boxer through to the finals, shaded Chris Blaney and Padraig McCrory on a split decisions tonight.
Meanwhile, Clare’s Kayleigh Murrihy will fly the flag for the Banner County next weekend after upsetting the odds to see off Belfast’s Sarah Close on a majority verdict in the opening bout of the session, while Kelly Harrington ousted Grainne Walsh, also on a majority decision.
Dean Gardiner, the beaten 2014 super-heavy finalist, and Constantin Popovicu posted wins in the final two bouts of the session to complete the finals’ line up.