Thursday 29 June 2017

Hurling great McCarthy lands Irish boxing title

Cork hurling legend Niall McCarthy is in line for selection on international Irish Third Level squads after claiming his first Irish boxing title. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
Cork hurling legend Niall McCarthy is in line for selection on international Irish Third Level squads after claiming his first Irish boxing title. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Bernard O'Neill

Cork hurling legend Niall McCarthy is in line for selection on international Irish Third Level squads after claiming his first Irish boxing title at Dublin's National Stadium on Saturday.

Representing University College Cork (UCC), McCarthy, an All-Star and two-time All-Ireland winner, beat Finbarr McGuire (CIT) on a unanimous decision in a fiery 86kg Leeside derby to secure the Junior Cruiserweight crown.

Shane O'Brien, Jack Canning and Jake Kelly also had their hands raised in victory for UCC.

Appropriately boxing out of the red corner at the stadium, McCarthy quit hurling with his club Carrigtwohill last September, citing "injury after injury" as the reason for throwing in the towel on a glittering career.

UCC coaches Eoin Buckley and Ken Anthony were working the UCC corner at the Irish Athletic Third Level Championships finals at the stadium.

Delighted

"All of the boys performed well and we're delighted to have won four titles. The first two rounds (McCarthy versus McGuire) were very good. He tired in the third, but he edged the last round, I'd say," said Buckley.

"He (McCarthy) hurt his opponent in the first round and the second round. His opponent is a tough young fella. Niall got tired in the last round. He gave it his all. He's very good to train and very strong. He's very meticulous and he wants everything done right."

Meanwhile, Michael Conlan is taking a leaf out of Muhammad Ali's book and is predicting the round he will win in at New York's Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's Day.

The two-time Irish Olympian meets Colorado's Tim Ibarra at the iconic Manhattan boxing venue on Friday and is confident of an inside-the-distance victory.

"A knockout finish, simple as that. A third-round KO," vowed the Belfast bantam ahead of the most eagerly-anticipated Irish pro debut in decades.

UFC star Conor McGregor confirmed he will lead Conlan "up the Garden path".

"We met and shook hands on it and he said he would be honoured to walk with me into the ring at Madison Square Garden," added Conlan.

Irish Independent

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