Cheyanne O’Neill, Kristina O’Hara and Amy Broadhurst guaranteed Ireland at least three Youth silver medals at the European Women’s Youth and Junior Championships after recording a hat-trick of semi-final wins in Italy today.
But Irish captain Lauren Hogan had to settle for bronze after a brave performance in Assisi.
O’Neill had her hands full against fiery Polish lightweight Justyna Pietas in the opening exchanges. The Pole started like a house on fire and took the first round of a proverbial slugfest 2-1 on the cards.
Two of the judges, despite O’Neill’s superior boxing skills, movement and shot selection, still leaned in favour of Pietas at the end of the second. However, O’Neill detonated some excellent shots off both hands in the third to take the penultimate frame on all cards, one judge scoring it 10-8 to Ireland.
The same judge gave her the fourth and final round 10-8 and the other two officials also leaned in her favour, with O’Neill winning 38-37,40-34,38-37.
She’ll now meet Sweden’s 2014 Youth Olympian Agnes Alexiusson in Sunday’s 60kg decider. Alexiusson, who claimed AIBA World Youth gold at 64kg in 2013, qualified for next month’s Youth Olympics in China through the Box-offs after losing at the last-eight stage of the AIBA 2014 World Women’s Youth Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in April.
O’Hara also had to come from behind to seal victory against tricky Ukrainian southpaw Hanna Ohota in the flyweight class. Ohota, a gold medal winner at the 2012 European Junior Championships, took the first two rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards, but EU champ O’Hara kept piling on the pressure and kept doing the right things to secure the last two frames en route to an impressive victory, albeit on a split decision – 37-39, 39-37, 38-36.
Youth Olympian Exaterina Paltseva awaits in Sunday’s 51kg final. The Russian qualified for the 2014 Youth Olympics after winning her Box-Off after reaching the last-eight of the 2014 AIBA World Women’s Youth Championships.
Meanwhile, while O’Neill and O’Hara were involved in edge-of-the-seat tear ups, Broadhurst was anything but. The Dundalk southpaw cruised to a 40-35,40-34,40-34 unanimous decision against Fina Westerlind.
The brave but mostly outclassed Swede took two standing counts in the second round as Broadhurst, the 2012 European Junior champion, whose right jab, left hook, complimented by the occasional right hook, tactics worked perfectly, eased to within eight minutes of winning her second European gold.
Earlier today, Irish skipper Lauren Hogan appeared to be on course for victory after taking the first round 10-9 across the board against Poland’s Wiktoria Sadeji. Hogan’s right hooks were finding the target throughout the opening stanza and she was also effective with her left near the end of the frame.
But Sadej’s left was causing problems and the Pole took the second and third rounds. Hogan put in a big final frame, and while her greater industry and punch volume might have carried the day on another occasion, Sadej got the decision.
Meantime, congratulations to the Irish squad and fans for getting behind the girls today. Chants of “lets go Ireland, let’s go,” could be clearly heard resounding through the PalaEventi Sport Venue throughout the four bouts involving Hogan, O’Neill, O’Hara and Broadhurst.
Sunday’s Youth and Junior finals begin at 1pm. Dublin bantam Shaneen Flynn meets Anastashia Artamonova (Russia) in the 54kg Junior final in Assisi.
Ireland will be taking home four silver, at least, and four bronze medals from the tournament.
European Women’s Youth and Junior Championships Assisi, Italy
48kg Kelsey Leonard (Ireland) lost to Melissa Hall (England) 0-3
50kg Caitlin Sweeney (Ireland) lost to Ebonie Jones (England) 0-3
46kg Shauna Blaney (Ireland) beat Beatrix Kalmav (Hungary) 3-0
52kg Natasha Logan (Ireland) lost to Anna Krsnoperava (Russia) 1-2
54kg Shaneen Flynn (Ireland) beat Merve Turkmen (Turkey) 3-0
57kg Orla Garvey (Ireland) lost to Vera Kopeikina (Russia) 0-3
60kg Shannon Reilly (Ireland) beat Filip Madalina (Romania) TKO3
63kg Natasha O’Reilly (Ireland) lost to Mellissa Freitag (Germany) 1-2
70kg Aoife Burke (Ireland) beat Gitta Cseri (Hungary) TKO3
46kg Shauna Blaney (Ireland) lost to Baretta Maddalena (Italy) 0-3
54kg Shaneen Flynn (Ireland) beat Cammarota Matilde (Italy) 3-0
60kg Shannon Reilly (Ireland) lost to Us Urguya (Turkey) 0-3
70kg Aoife Burke (Ireland) lost to Aneta Gojko (Poland) 1-2
54kg Shaneen Flynn (Ireland) v Anastashia Artamonova (Russia)
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Ireland) beat Istik Neriman (Turkey) 2-1
54kg Siabh Greene (Ireland) lost to Malys Gangloff (France) 0-3
75kg Niamh Folan (Ireland) lost to Elisaveta Saiushkina (Ukraine) 1-2
48kg Lauren Hogan (Ireland) beat Elit Belismen (Turkey) 2-1
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Ireland) beat Hayley Ward (England) TKO4
57kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) beat Annunziata Esposito (Italy) TKO4
60kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Ireland) beat Iryna Yaskova (Ukraine) 3-0
64kg Ciara Sheedy (Ireland) lost to Marryeva Jabrailova (Azerbaijan) 1-2
48kg Lauren Hogan (Ireland) lost to Wiktoria Sadej (Poland) 0-3
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Ireland) beat Hanna Ohota (Ukraine) 2-1
57kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) beat Fina Westerlind (Sweden) 3-0
60kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Ireland) beat Justyna Pietas (Poland) 3-0
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Ireland) v Exaterina Paltseva (Russia)
57kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) v Valery Manchak (Ukraine)
60kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Ireland) v Agnes Alexiusson (Sweden)
48kg Lauren Hogan cpt (St Brigid’s Edenderry) (Bronze)
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Emerald) (Silver, at least)
54kg Siabh Greene (Ballinacarrow)
57kg Amy Boardhurst (Dealgan) (Silver, at least)
60kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Athlone) (Silver, at least)
64kg Ciara Sheedy (Aglish)
75kg Niamh Folan (Connemara)
46kg Shauna Blaney (Navan) (Bronze)
48kg Kelsey Leonard (Curragh)
50kg Caitlin Sweeney (St Brigid’s Kildare)
52kg Natasha Logan (Ryston)
54kg Shaneen Flynn (Crumlin) (Silver, at least)
57kg Orla Garvey (Dealgan)
60kg Shannon Reilly (Bray) (Bronze)
63kg Natasha O’Reilly St Brigid’s (Kildare)
70kg Aoife Burke (St Mary’s) (Bronze)
Team Manager Maura Campbell
Coaches: John McCormack, Noreen Quinn, Antoinette Fay, Liam Brereton