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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Boxer wins fight for Irish team selection

Ray Managh and Mark Hilliard

THE champion boxer who yesterday won a court battle to be put back on a selection panel for the forthcoming European championships will find out later today if he has made the Irish team.

Michael O'Reilly (18) had brought the proceedings earlier this week following a decision by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to deselect him from the panel due to an alleged breach of discipline at a recent training camp.

Yesterday, the High Court ruled that he was entitled to an injunction on the association's decision until the case could be heard in its entirety -- and that he must be considered by the IABA central council today.

Welcoming the decision last night, Mr O'Reilly's coach, Pat Ryan, said: "We are very pleased with the outcome. The judge gave two orders in our favour.

"One is that the disciplinary action withdrawing Michael from the team was incorrect and that they (the IABA) didn't have the authority to do that.

"The second is that Michael has been reinstated on the panel. That is all we wanted."

Michael Conlon BL, who represented Mr O'Reilly, said his client had been at a training camp earlier this month when he allowed a 17-year-old unlicensed and uninsured fellow competitor to park his van in an underground car park.

There was a minor accident causing some damage to the van and Mr O'Reilly left the camp and drove to Portlaoise to obtain an estimate for the repair. He returned for training later that evening.


Mr O'Reilly claimed he had permission from his coach to leave but later he learned that his name had not been put before the officer board by international youth coach Billy McLean for selection on the Irish team.

Another boxer, Christy Joyce, was selected instead to compete in the 69kg division.

Mr O'Reilly had also asked the court to order a 'box-off' between him and Mr Joyce for the right to represent Ireland but this was refused.

The IABA, which argued that Mr O'Reilly did not have permission to leave training on the night of the accident, had opposed his application.

In his ruling yesterday Mr Justice John Cooke said that the IABA's central council must disregard the original decision to omit Mr O'Reilly when it meets today in order to finalise the team.

The judge said it was regrettable that the matter in dispute could not have been mediated internally.

The central council will meet this morning to ratify team selection for the European Youth Championships, which will take place at Citywest, Dublin from Monday.

It is understood that a decision on the final team should be made some time today.

Mr Ryan commented: "In terms of discipline, Mr O'Reilly has travelled all over the world; he has won seven all-Ireland titles and his conduct has been exemplary.

"He is so overjoyed -- all he wants to do is box. He is a credit to his parents and his club."

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