Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin have different views on the Billy Walsh debate
Published 11/08/2016 | 12:18
With Ireland's Olympic boxers getting off to a disastrous start in Rio, there is plenty of debate as to whether they would have underperformed if Billy Walsh was still High Performance Director of the Irish team.
Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward - who was beaten last night - both suffered shock defeats to exit the Games while David Oliver Joyce also bowed out, albeit against number two seed Albert Selimov.
The high-profile case of Michael O'Reilly failing a drugs test rocked the Irish team before the action began in the ring and since then only Steven Donnelly and Joyce in his first fight have been victorious for Team Ireland.
Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan and Brendan Irvine - who have all yet to fight - remain firm medal contenders but the Irish performances so far have raised questions as to whether the team are feeling the effects of the loss of Walsh.
While Team Ireland struggle, Walsh has led the Americans to their first medal in Rio following Nico Hernandez's light-flyweight quarter-final victory over Ecuador's Carlos Quipo Pilataxi.
Barnes has stated categorically that none of Ireland's loses in the ring are attributed to the absence of Walsh.
"Anyone that thinks Billy Walsh is the reason for any Irish loss doesn't no anything about Irish amateur boxing and that's a fact!," Barnes wrote on Twitter.
Barnes also added that he has been fully behind Walsh and his decision to leave Ireland for the States.
When asked if he had any problem with Walsh leaving, Barnes replied: "Coaching one of the world biggest countries in the world and being paid a hell of a lot more money? I'm happy for him!"
Nevin, however, feels that Walsh's loss is being felt in the Irish camp.
"It's easy to have an off day but as I said last year when Billy Walsh left he is a big loss my view best coaching the world a true legend!," Nevin wrote on Twitter.
"I see lots given @paddyb_ireland lots of stick about him not getting another medal he has more Olympic medals than any Irish boxer ever! have to give the man the credit he deserves a true legend of the sport and Billy Walsh big loss greatest coach ever my view #barnes #walsh."