Team Shannon Sweeney aiming for Paris as gradual build continues with Irish title win


The smallest fighter in the championships took home the first title of the night on Saturday.

Shannon Sweeney opened the National Elite Senior Championships finals night at the weekend, withstanding the relentless Carol Coughlan with some quality work and taking a tight 3-2 split decision win.

A big result for the 19-year-old, the fight marked an important step in a long-term plan which is hoped will end at the 2024 Olympics.

In many ways the final was similar to the 2017 decider, where Sweeney was out-gunned by the powerful Kristina O’Hara. This time around though, Sweeney was able to battle through against a physically larger foe and claim a maiden Elite title.

“I couldn’t be happier,” the Mayo teenager told Irish-Boxing.com immediately afterward.

“It feels great. It’s been two years, after getting beat by Kristina O’Hara and it’s just an amazing feeling.”

The defeat to the Commonwealth Games-bound O’Hara has proven a pivotal moment for the Westport puncher.

Sweeney outlined how “it drove me on, it didn’t put me down. I kept focused and kept training, every day, to be a better me and accomplish more.”

“She [Coughlan] kept coming at me, I can’t fault her. It was a good fight and I had to dig deep. I came out with the win but there’s still a lot to work with.

Many of the women’s winners on Saturday were looking forward to the Europeans and Worlds this year, however Team Sweeney are thinking long-term. Indeed, the commited Westerner’s main target is the Paris Olympics is 2024.

Martin Brennan, coach at St Anne’s, explained how “she’s only 46-and a half, 47 kilos, our dream for this lady is six years time at 51kg [48kg is not an Olympic weight]. It’s a natural, gradual process.”

“She’s a serious talent and she lives the life. She loves training and nutrition, she’s a piece of cake to work with!”

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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]