Anger as Irish duo denied gold
IT was a case of so near and yet so far for Ireland as Michael O'Reilly and Gary Sweeney had to settle for silver at the European Youth Championships at the Citywest hotel in Dublin.
O'Reilly, of the Portlaoise BC, was controversially adjudged to have lost by one point in the welterweight decider against Igor Kharitonov of Russia, while Mayo light-heavy Sweeney, a brother of pro Michael, had another Russian, Vladimir Korsunov, out on his feet in the final round but lost 16-13.
O'Reilly shared the first eight points with Kharitonov, but dominated the final two rounds. Three of the judges awarded the bout to the 18-year-old Irishman and the other two had it level.
However, due to the vagaries of the computer scoring system, Kharitonov was handed a 16-15 decision.
"All I know is I won the fight but didn't get the decision. I'm happy enough I got a silver medal but I would be happier with a gold," said O'Reilly.
Sweeney, of the All Stars BC, was trailing 11-7 at the end of the second round against Korsunov. The Ballinrobe man, gesticulating to the crowd to get behind him, rallied to win the third 6-5 though after stalking the Russian all over the ring, but it wasn't enough.
With Jack Morrissey, Stephen Broadhurst and Joe Fitzpatrick taking bronze, Ireland finished third in the rankings table at the 38-nation championships behind Russia and Azerbaijan.