CHRISTOPHER O'Reilly is due to step into the ring this morning (Tuesday) for his first bout in this year's European Schoolboy Championships in Anapa, Russia.
The 14-year-old from Balbriggan departed Dublin on Saturday morning and arrived safely at the host town on Sunday, with less than 48 hours to prepare for action, but coach Kieran O'Neill is confident that the popular youngster can deliver. 'He's worked hard over the summer and is in great shape and he's as prepared as he can be,' said the Bracken BC supremo this week. 'Hopefully he can come home a winner.'
O'Reilly's Bracken clubmate Gerard Whitehouse, who himself won European bronze at the same venue three years ago, was in action on a show in the Bracken clubhouse last Friday night and produced a classy display, stopping opponent Alan McGrane (Esker BC) with a fearsome left hook to the body in the third round.
Other winners for Bracken on the night were Ben Teeling against Evan Fitzgerald at Boy 1 48kg, 11year-old Tadhg Boyne over Richie Flynn and Cian Leech (also 11) who stopped his opponent John Zaid in the last round. Chloe Gray was due to fight Rachel Flavin from St Brigid's in Kildare, the girl she defeated 17-11 in this year's All-Ireland final, but Rachel has grown out of Chloe's weight division in recent months and so they had to be content with a non-competitive exhibition bout. Also representing Bracken on the night was eightyear-old Johnny Fay, son of former Irish champion Gary Fay from Ballyboughal.
The enthusiastic youngster, who also plays Gaelic football and rugby, was given his first opportunity in the ring and performed very well in another exhibition fight against Conor Horrigan.