Barnes triumphs in epic
Published 04/02/2012 | 05:00
Beijing bronze medallist Paddy Barnes survived a nine-minute war to keep his dream of a place in the London Games alive last night.
The Belfast light-fly had to dig remarkably deep to secure his sixth consecutive national title in an epic final against young Newbridge boxer Hugh Myers.
Barnes edged the verdict 21-17 after a hard-hitting battle that exposed a little ring-rustiness.
Barnes has booked his seat on the plane to April's final qualifying tournament in Trabzon, Turkey.
"That's only my third fight in two years," said the relieved Olympian afterwards. "Everyone could see the rust out there."
London-bound John Joe Nevin delivered a master-class at bantamweight, outclassing his young cousin Michael Nevin on a 23-3 score to secure a fifth title.
Two other men who have already secured Olympic tickets collected national titles -- middleweight Darren O'Neill picked up his fourth when Conor Coyle had to withdraw, and Belfast flyweight Michael Conlan beat Chris Phelan.
Best contest of the night was at welterweight, where defending champion Adam Nolan survived a late onslaught from John Joe Joyce to win 17-15. It was equally tight at 60kg, Michael McDonagh just getting the better of David Oliver Joyce 17-14.
At light-welter, Ross Hickey retained his crown, beating Stephen Coughlan 21-5.
Among the big hitters, Tommy McCarthy won his first final in four attempts, winning the heavyweight crown by stopping Christy Joyce in the third round.
Con Sheehan took his fifth crown, defeating Sean Turner at superheavy by 25-10.