Walsh and Nolan ready for nationals
As you might expect, St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's clubman Dean Walsh is hitting sparkling form at the opportune moment as he puts his light welterweight title on the line at the National Senior boxing championships which get under way in the National Stadium this Friday evening.
Twenty-one year-old Walsh won the title for the first time last year, going on to box in several internationals for Ireland in the intervening period as a result, giving him much-needed experience.
When 2015 turned its corner just a short few days ago, Walsh was eager and ready, fitter than ever in his fledgling young career, with his physical fitness and strength coming on in leaps and bounds since he first lifted the Senior crown less than twelve months ago.
This Christmas and new year saw him continue the hard work, as he realises that he has Ross Hickey from the Grangecon club in Wicklow in his opposite corner.
Hickey missed out on last year owing to injury but it should in no way take from the exploits of young Walsh on his way to lifting the crown. But the five times Senior champion from Grangecon, showed he is returning to top form in the recent Liam Walsh memorial night where his sharpness was seen to be returning as good as ever.
Walsh is recognised as an exceptional young talent. It's easy to argue the Hickey case but Walsh has his sights set on retaining the title and taking a further step towards the Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile, Ballagh man, Adam Nolan, who boxed in the 2012 London Olympics, is also hitting peak form in his bid to regain his welterweight title.
The Bray-based Garda will be seeking to regain the trophy that he lost to northerner Stephen Donnelly in last year's hard-fought final.
Nolan is hoping his long arm of the law will help him out-punch all-comers in what is a hugely competitive weight division.
And Nolan has the backing of his colleagues in Bray Garda Station with his chief Superintendent praising him for all his hard work and dedication in bringing such honour to the force, while Nolan is forever grateful for the support and time off to continue his professional preparations for the finals.
Boxing with the same club as World and Olympic champion, Katie Taylor, Nolan also has a former champion in John Joe Joyce to contend with.
Gorey's Niall Murray is deemed somewhat doubtful at the moment having had stitches in a facial injury. But should he prove his fitness he has the strength and ability to cause an upset or two.
The boxers will weigh in on Friday morning, after which the draws for the opening contests will be made.