Saturday 1 November 2014

Coach Conlan lauds Walsh for 'incredible' performance

Bernard O'Neill

Published 04/08/2014 | 02:30

Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland fell just short of gold after losing her Commonwealth Games women's fly final to Olympic champion Nicola Adams. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland fell just short of gold after losing her Commonwealth Games women's fly final to Olympic champion Nicola Adams. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Head coach John Conlan hailed the performances of Northern Ireland's boxers after they claimed two gold, two silver and five bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Conlan's son, Michael, and Paddy Barnes, the defending champion, overcame England's Qais Ashfaq and India's Laishram Devendro respectively to secure gold in Saturday's bantam and light-fly finals.

Michaela Walsh and Joe Fitzpatrick lost to England's Nicola Adams, the current Olympic champion, and Scotland's Charlie Flynn in the fly and lightweight finals.

Irish Elite champion Walsh and Adams were tied on a majority draw – 38-38,38-38, and 39-37 (to Adams) – at the end of four see-saw rounds. But when it went back to the judges who scored it level, one of them favoured Adams.

"I feel in my heart that I won it but she's the Olympic champion and she was going to win it if it was close," said Walsh, a team-mate of Barnes at the Holy Family boxing club in Belfast.

"Michaela said to me at the weigh-in on Saturday morning that "today is the day I will beat an Olympic champion," said John Conlan.

"I told her after the final that she didn't lie, because we thought she did enough to nick it.

"It was an incredible performance against an Olympic gold medallist and the world number one."

Meanwhile, Barnes and Conlan, who sustained a nasty cut on his forehead in his semi-final win over Wales' Sean McGoldrick in Glasgow, will miss the European Union Championships, which begin on Thursday in Sofia.

The Irish squad for Bulgaria has yet to be fully confirmed, but Joe Ward has been ruled out with a hand injury.

He has been replaced by Darren O'Neill, who moves up from middleweight to light-heavy.

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