2017 National U18 Championships – PREVIEW

The National U18 Championships begin this weekend across 11 weights as fighters from around Ireland descend upon Dublin for the final underage tournament before ditching the headguards and entering the adult ranks.

An immensely talented field of 70 have entered the tournament this year, which will be used as part of the selection process for the European Youth Championships this coming September.

Below Irish-Boxing.com looks through each and every weight.

Pinweight – 46kg
It’s a straight final in the lightest division. Diarmuid Toland of Phoenix Lurgan, who became the clubs first ever Irish champion last month when he claimed the Junior 2 46kg crown, takes on Monivea’s Adam Hession who finished runner-up last month at 44kg.

Light Flyweight – 49g
Liam Glennon of St Joseph’s Derry receives a bye to the final. The Foylesider won the Commonwealth Youth Games selection tournament in Belfast in March but would then be beaten in the box-offs last month. Glennon will face the winner of the semi-final between St Michael’s Athy fighter Terry Donohue, Junior 2 champion at 50kg last month and a European Junior silver medalist last year, and Dunfanaghy’s Sean Kelly, winner at 48kg last month. The pair met in the Junior 1 46kg final last year with Donohue coming out on top.

Flyweight – 52kg
A packed weight, Ballymun boxer David Oliver Joyce, 48kg Cadet runner up last year, takes on Ballina’s Martin McDonagh, Cadet champion at 44kg last year in the quarter finals. The corresponding quarter pits Trojan fighter Ray Collins against Jordan Sheehan of Clonmel, the Junior 2 champion at 46kg last year. On the other side of the draw, Emerald’s Kane Marshall faces Monkstown’s Sean Kavanagh, while Gavin Flynn of Dungarvan takes on Leeside Lough fighter Ownie McDonagh who claimed the Junior 1 50kg title last year.

Bantamweight – 56kg
Drogheda’s Jordan Smith takes on Monkstown fight Robbie Gould in the quarters, with the winner going on to face last year’s Junior 1 57kg champion Seamus Mongan of Bay City in the semis. Enniskerry’s Sean Purcell, a semi finalist last year, starts off against Jimmy McCarthy of St Michael’s Athy, while Crumlin’s Craig Kavanagh, a runner-up last year, is in against David McDonagh of Docklands.

Lightweight – 60kg
The weight division with the highest number of entries. In the preliminaries on Friday, Omagh’s Callum Bradley will look to bounce back from his narrow loss in the Commonwealth Youths box-offs when he takes on Ryan Copeland of Erne. The winner of this bout will face the winner of the all-Docklands match-up between Matthew McDonagh and Sean Whelan. Also in the prelims, Tom O’Neill of St Francis will take on Monkstown’s Kenneth Doyle, a semi finalist last year, with the winner facing the winner of the bout between Bay City’s JP Fitzpatrick and Dylan McDonagh, another competitor last year. The two who emerge from all these bouts will then face each other in the semi finals.

On the other side of the draw, World Junior silver medalist Eamer Coughlan gets underway in the quarters against Joe Whelan of St Ibar’s/St Josephs. The victor here will be matched with the winner of the bout between last year’s Cadet runner up Nathan Mongan of Cavan and Trojan’s Cillian Spillane.

Light Welterweight – 64kg
The sole preliminary bout sees Middleton’s Ian Desmond face Tom Stokes of All Saints Ballymena, with the winner going on to fight Docklands fighter Pierce O’Leary, who won the Junior 1 title at 63kg last year. This side of the draw is rounded out by a bout between Wetside’s Leigh Wilson and Michael Kinsella of St Anthony’s/Pat’s, a competitor last year. Paddy Donovan, champion at 60kg last year and a World Junior silver medalist, begins against Glasnevin’s Michael Avetisian. Sacre Coeur’s Sean Dempsey, 63kg runner-up in the Cadets and Junior 1 last year, faces Luke Byrne of Grangecon in the corresponding quarter.

Welterweight – 69kg
Another packed weight, World Youth Championships bronze medalist Gabriel Dossen is the name that immediately stands out. The Galway fighter starts off against Airijus Vitlipas of Naas, a competitor at both U18 Championships last year. In the other prelims, St Monica’s Michael Hennessy will look to bounce back from his narrow Commonwealth Youths box off defeat with a fight against Portlaoise fighter Dylan Caldwell. Also in the prelims Terence David Ward takes on Karin Finnily of Lisburn

Receiving byes to the quarter finals, Illies GG fighter Brian Elliot has made the step down from 81kg and will face a prelim, while World Junior bronze medalist Paul Ryan will face the experienced Cameron Bennett of Bracken. In a tasty looking bout, Mullingar’s Jack Conroy, who won European Junior bronze last year, takes on Jason Harty of Rathkeale, who won European Junior gold in 2015.

Middleweight – 75kg
In the quarters, Liberty’s Evan Cleary faces Tramore fighter Jack Lawlor, with the winner going on to face European Schoolboys gold medalist Jordan Myers of Sligo. Jamie Harty, twin brother Jason and also a silver medalist at the European Schoolboys, will take on Alex Trant of Corinthians. The corresponding quarter pits Brian McNamee of Convoy against Setanta’s Tommy Hyde, who recently reached the quarter finals of the prestigious Nikolay Pavlyukov Youth Memorial.

Light Heavyweight – 81kg
Last year’s Junior 2 80kg runner-up Thomas Maughan receives a bye straight into the final. Here the Cavan man will face the winner of the fight between Crumlin’s Ryan Bolger and Pierre Stokes of Athlone, the Youth 1 75kg champ last year.

Heavyweight – 91kg
Martin Jim McDonagh from the Ennis heavyweight factory takes on Thomas Cogley of Monivea in the semis. Runner up last year, Paul McCullough of St John Bosco, faces Darndale’s Thomas Gavin, runner up in the Cadet +80kg class last year, in the other semi final.

Super Heavyweight – +91kg
Champion last year, Martin J Mongan receives a bye to the final where he will face the winner of the bout between Crumlin’s Luke Hill and Martin McDonagh of Riverside.

Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 4 of The Irish Boxing Show

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]