Family's national fortunes
HOLY Family Boxing Club celebrated two more national champions at the weekend as Ben Bannon and Michael Walsh clinched Irish titles at the National Stadium in Dublin.
The Ballsgrove-based club's continued success was added to with superb displays from Walsh, who claimed his second Irish crown, and Bannon, who won a national title at the first time of asking.
After three demanding contests in the recent Leinster Championships, provincial champion Walsh received a bye to the Boy 2 66kg decider where he met Brendan McParland from St John Bosco BC, Newry.
Walsh, using his considerable height and reach advantage, edged what was a close bout with McParland, but the Holy Family boxer never trailed in the contest on the way to a 7-4 win that clinched his second national title in as many years.
In the Boy 1 60kg division, Bannon, who also recently claimed provincial glory, met Brendan Stokes from Crumlin BC in Wednesday's semi-final.
After an action-packed first round, both boxers were tied at 5-5, before the Holy Family boxer edged ahead in the second. Stokes pilled on the pressure in the middle round, but Bannon stayed calm to land the cleaner shots and give himself a three-point cushion going into the last.
Bannon used that advantage well and edged further ahead of the Dubliner in the last to take a 13-7 win.
In Friday night's decider, Bannon was up against Rian Mulholland, also from St John Bosco, Newry, and the Drogheda boxer began where he left off. Bannon caught his man with much cleaner shots from the off as he opened up a 7-4 lead after two rounds, before streaking further ahead in the third to take what turned out to be a comfortable 17-7 victory as he claimed an Irish title in his first year in boxing.
This weekend will see Vasyl Chechensky, Michael Nevin and Hugh Nevin take part in the Na-tional Cadets. All three recently competed in the recent National Boy 4 and Youth Champion-ships, and with none of them having claimed victory in that competition, they will be hopeful of making up for it in the Cadets event.
Michael Nevin did reach the decider, but illness forced him to withdraw from the final.