18 July 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Ross Hickey gained revenge for his defeat by Eric Donovan in this years Irish senior flyweight final with a nail-biting 4-3 victory at the IABAs Open Senior Competition at the National Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.
Donovan, who knocked out Ray Moylette in the semis, had led after scoring the only point of the opening round.
However, Hickey edged the second to level matters, at two points apiece, before again nicking the third to claim what would have been a very sweet and satisfying victory for the Grangecon fighter.
The light-heavyweight final, meanwhile, was a far more one-sided affair, with Darren Cruise failing to answer the bell for the start of the third round of his clash with Olympic silver medallist Kenny Egan. Cruises retirement came as no surprise, with the Crumlin man trailing 15-1 at the time. It is now just over ten years since Egan was last beaten in Irish competition.
Elsewhere, there were walkovers for Egans fellow Olympians, Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin, at light-flyweight and bantamweight respectively.
However, John Joe Joyce, another member of the Irish team which travelled to Beijing last summer, was beaten 21-6 by Philip Sutcliffe in a light-welterweight bout of incredible intensity.
The final scoreline was somewhat harsh on Joyce, given what he had contributed to an entertaining scrap, but there was no denying that Irish champion Sutcliffe had been a clear and worthy victor.
In the flyweight decider, Ruairi Dalton was unable to follow up his shock win over reigning Irish champion Declan Geraghty in the last four, the Holy Trinity ace falling to a 12-4 defeat to the impressive Conor Ahern.
Dalton was too slow off the mark and left himself with far too much to do after ending the opening round five points down.
Tyrone McCullagh, meanwhile, displayed excellent defensive skills in his 7-0 shutout of Sean Kilroy in the featherweight decider.
St Michaels Athy middleweight David Joyce finished strongly to edge out Stephen OReilly 7-4, while the countback system was required to separate welterweights Roy Sheahan and Adam Nolan after they had finished locked together at six points apiece at the end of three absorbing rounds.
Sheahan got the nod, 4-1, to claim a victory which should go some way towards erasing the pain of missing the Beijing Games through injury.
Con Sheehan produced a dominant final round to break the game resistance of Conal Carmichael in the heavyweight final, the Clonmel man eventually coasting to a comfortable 11-4 victory.
Cathal McMonagle was even more impressive in the super-heavyweight decider, the Holy Trinity product routing chris Devanney 12-2.