BRACKEN's latest international show clashed directly with the Republic of Ireland v Germany soccer match and there was considerably more punch delivered by the boxers than Giovanni Trapattoni's men in the Aviva Stadium.
The Balbriggan club hosted a French selection from six different Paris clubs in the Milestone Inn and it proved to be a good match-up as the eight international bouts were shared equally, resulting in a 4-4 scoreline. Not for the first time Gerard Whitehouse was the star of the show as the Bracken international produced one of his best performances in recent years.
He used every inch of the tight Milestone arena to out-wit his French opponent who did very well to take the punishment, and the Boxer of the Night award subsequently went to the Bracken man. One of the best fights of the night involved 23-year-old Michael McLoughlin, competing in the light heavyweight novice division. McLoughlin had missed a couple of weeks training while attending a wedding in Scotland, and was up against a very awkward French opponent who stood at least six inches taller, but what the Bracken ace lacked in sharpness and height he made up for in sheer grit.
In the end the Frenchman was slightly tidier in his punching and that carried him over the line, but the crowd warmed to the courageous Bracken man. Chloe Gray enhanced her reputation still further with a great victory, helped over the line by a fair but partisan home crowd. Facing an international opponent for the first time, nerves seemed to afflict Chloe in the first round, but she used her twohanded attack to good effect in the second three minutes and that effectively set up a thirdround decider where her sheer will to win and noisy supporters gave her the edge. One of Bracken's other victors was Conor Duffy who conceded 3kg to his opponent, but kept him out of range for most of the contest and skilfully landed a number of scoring punches to claim an excllent victory, while Shane Egan's slightly crisper punching carried him over the line in a clash of styles against
Bracken's Shannon Sleater counter punches Suzanne Kavanagh (Tredagh). his southpaw opponent. Prince Silewa came up just short once again in a toe-to-toe contest and coach Kieran O'Neill is wondering whether the featherweight should drop into a lower division to boost his future prospects, and there was a narrow defeat, too, for Dylan Boylan in a contest that could have gone either way.
Outwith the international there were a number of supporting bouts, led by Tige Boyne who registered a home win over Martin McDonagh of Tredagh (Drogheda) in a Boy 1 44kg contest, while other victors were Ben Teeling over Blake Bissett of Tredagh, Josh McGough over Dean Reilly (St Saviours) and 11year-old Aaron Walsh against Karl Kelly (St Saviours). 'The show clashed with the Ireland game, but we still had a full house of more than 200 people and it's great to see that the public are still supporting boxing in Balbriggan,' enthused Bracken supremo O'Neill. 'On the Saturday we had a cultural day and took the French people to Dublin, and on Sunday they boxed us again in a sparring session, so it was a great weekend all round.'