Boxer's 2012 dream on ropes in legal row
A YOUNG boxer's chances of competing in the 2012 Olympics could be KO'd if a decision of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to drop him from next week's European Youth Championships is allowed to stand, the High Court was told yesterday.
Round two of a legal challenge by Michael O'Reilly (18) against the association's decision not to select him for the Irish youths team on a matter of discipline will continue in the High Court this morning.
Mr O'Reilly, who fights out of the Portlaoise Boxing Club, Co Laois, wants the court to grant him an injunction preventing the IABA from "de-selecting" him from the Irish squad.
Barrister Michael Conlon, for Mr O'Reilly, is also seeking an order from the High Court directing the IABA to hold a box-off between Mr O'Reilly and fellow contender Christy Joyce, who has already been selected.
Mr Conlon told Mr Justice John Cooke yesterday that Mr O'Reilly could lose a chance to fight for Ireland in the London Olympics if the decision to drop him from the championships squad was not overturned.
He said Mr O'Reilly was a young married man who received a €5,000 grant from the Irish Sports Council to subsidise his amateur boxing career and if he did not get to the Europeans he could lose it.
On the basis of winning at the Europeans the grant could be increased to €12,000, so that also was at risk.
Mr Conlon told the court Mr O'Reilly was earlier this month attending a training camp at the National Stadium, Dublin, when he allowed a 17-year-old unlicensed, uninsured fellow competitor to park his van in the underground car park at the stadium.
He said there had been a minor accident which had caused some damage to Mr O'Reilly's van. Mr O'Reilly left the training camp to drive to Portlaoise to obtain an estimate for the repair of his van but returned for training later that evening.
Later he learnt his name had not been put before the officer board by international youth coach Billy McLean for selection on the Irish team and that Mr Joyce, a boxer he had recently heavily outpointed, had been selected instead.
Mr Conlon said de-selection was a severe penalty for what the IABA itself agreed was not a major misdemeanour.
Mr McLean, in an affidavit, said he had not thought it appropriate -- on the basis of Mr O'Reilly's breach of regulations by absenting himself without permission from the training camp -- to recommend him for selection, and had put Mr Joyce's name forward.
Mr O'Reilly claims he had permission from his coach to leave the training camp.
The hearing continues today.