Danny Boy was able to play the loop at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center after SIX Northern Ireland boxers reached the final of their respective Commonwealth Games.
Arlie McNaul, Dylan Eagleson, Amy Broadhurst, Aidan Walsh, Jude Gallagher and Mikaela Walsh will all be vying for the gold, and unlike four years ago on the Gold Coast when you lost six decisive players, you can be sure some NI stars will be on top. step of the podium in 2022.
In 2010, at the Games in Delhi, Northern Ireland won three gold medals in boxing. Expect this and more this time around with faith seeping through camp combined with the shrewd tactics of John Conlan, Damien Kennedy and the rest of the coaching team. Looks like a winning combination.
Eagleson won from both. The boy from Bangor was jumping for joy in the ring yesterday when a split decision was announced in his favor.
The 19-year-old southpaw smiled as he entered the interview room, where he wanted everyone to know the best was yet to come.
The bantamweight semi-final with Scotland’s Matthew McHale was evasive from the start before Eagleson revealed his class as he found his opponent with some attractive shots, giving him a 3-2 verdict from the judges after a more comfortable quarter-final win . over Armando Cigauke of Mozambique.
Next in today’s final will be Abraham Mensah from Ghana, who, judging from previous competitions, will be swinging more and more. Eagleson has to make him miss and then pick him up.
It was a year of progress for the Northern Ireland teenager who took bronze at the European Under-22 Championships and silver at the European Championships. You know what’s next for the Commonwealth Games. So did Dylan, whose skills impressed boxing fans in Birmingham.
“I’m only here for the gold. To be honest, I don’t want anything else,” he said.
“My first fight was sketchy and I needed to be tough, but in the semi-final I felt much better and stayed in boxing. That’s not all. The final will be better. I get better with every fight.”
Eagleson’s phone has been “going crazy” with messages all week. He will have much more if he bets today.
Young shooter Jude Gallagher also proved popular this week. Many boxing fans were hoping to see the 20-year-old “Tyrone Tornado” last night after some brilliant performances at the Games, but 15 minutes before his fight, it was reported that Canadian semi-final challenger Keoma-Ali Al-Ahmadoe pulled out, leaving Gallagher as the winner.
Newtownstuart will face Joseph Commey of Ghana in the featherweight final.
Then there are the wonderful Walsh siblings. Mikaela will fight tonight in her third Commonwealth Games final, finishing second in 2014 and 2018, with Aidan coming in second behind silver four years ago.
Michaela was too good for Filvokule Mnguni of South Africa in her featherweight division and will now face Nigeria’s Elisabeth Oshoba in the final while Aidan defeated Welshman Garan Croft and Mozambique’s Thiago Muksanga is due to deal today for the gold medal in welterweight.
Away from it all, Walsh loves nothing more than spending time with his girlfriend, eating Chinese and drinking cola in his trailer in Carnlau. Oh, and fishing and kayaking too.
It is as light as it is hard to hit. They look for it here, they look for it there, they look for it absolutely everywhere, but they never find it. After the 4-1 loss in the minds of the judges – it should have been 5-0 – Croft talked about how smart Walsh was and that he probably felt “as fresh as a daisy”.
A Gold Coast silver medalist, always accommodating and with a wonderful outlook on life, Walsh said: “I just want to enjoy every minute of it. I am surrounded by wonderful people, wonderful coaches, a wonderful girl, a wonderful family, what more do you want? I would be greedy if I asked for anything else.
“It doesn’t matter if I get gold or not, I will still go back home to my girlfriend, fish and enjoy life. It won’t change me. I’ll just go about my normal business like buying a new pair of shoes.”
Michaela watched her brother’s fight on TV before coming to the NEC to do it herself.
“I was screaming from the bedroom. I’m sure there have been several noise complaints. He performed so well and I am so proud of him and my teammates,” she said.
“It’s amazing for both of us to be in the final again, especially for Aidan, who had the most difficult draw of all. He has another chance, but whatever the outcome, what we have now is a phenomenal achievement.
“I don’t want to look too far ahead, but winning gold is something I have dreamed of for many years and if I did it with my brother, it would be incredible.”