The nine-man Irish squad arrived in Ankara, Turkey on Saturday evening ahead of the opening bell for the 2011 European Championships in the Turkish capital. It is expected that over 40 nations will take part in the Championships.
Ireland were hit with a body blow on Friday after defending European light-flyweight champion Paddy Barnes had to withdraw from the Continental deciders after the results of an MRI scan showed that he had suffered ligament damage and bone bruising on his left hand.
Barnes, a bronze medal winner at the Beijing Olympics and the current Commonwealth champ, admitted that he was devastated.
“I feel good and I am fit, but the injury to my wrist has not entirely responded to treatment and the advice I have been given is in my best interests. I am absolutely gutted that I will not be there to defend my title but it was simply not worth the risks,” said the Holy Family BC Belfast club-man.
The draw for the Championships will be held next Thursday. Boxing begins at 2pm (local time) on Friday.
Ankara is two hours ahead of Ireland.
Irish 2011 European Elite Championships Squad
52Kg: Michael Conlon (St John Bosco)
56Kg:John Joe Nevin (Cavan)
60Kg:Michael McDonagh (St Mary’s)
64Kg: Ray Moylette (St Anne’s)
69Kg: Willie McLaughlin (Illies GG)
75Kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
81Kg: Joe Ward (Moate)
91Kg: Con Sheehan (Clonmel)
91+Kg: Cathal McMonagle (Holy Trinity)