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Boxing: Irish looking to surpass five-medal haul in Euros

IRISH head coach Billy Walsh believes that if the Irish squad get their performance right at the European Senior Championships in Ankara, Turkey, that another high five -- or more -- could follow.

Irish officials yesterday named a 10-man squad for the Continental deciders, which begins at the SporSalou venue next Thursday.

Ireland finished in second spot in the medals table behind powerhouses Russia with of a five-medal haul from Paddy Barnes, Darren O'Neill, Ken Egan, Tyrone McCullagh and Eric Donovan at the 2010 Europeans at the Ice Palace, Moscow.

Barnes, who had a precautionary scan on an injury to his left hand yesterday, and O'Neill, who claimed gold and silver between them in the Russian capital, are included in the Irish team. Barnes will be seeking to become the second Irish boxer after Katie Taylor to claim back-to-back European golds.

Meanwhile, World Youth champion Joe Ward, World Senior bronze medalist John Joe Nevin and Michael McDonagh will be wearing the vests worn by Egan, McCullough and Donovan, who all won bronze last time out.

"The Irish squad did brilliantly to win five medals at the last European Championships in Russia. To finish in second spot in the medals table behind Russia in Russia speaks for itself," said Ward, at 17 the youngest member of the Irish squad.

"I think the squad are getting better and stronger all the time and that we have the ability to win another five medals or even more."

Ray Moylette, the 2008 World Youth champion, EU champion Con Sheehan, Michael McDonagh, Cathal McMonagle, Willie McLaughlin and Michael Conlon make up the squad.

Irish head coach Walsh is expressing quiet confidence ahead of what will be a crucial period for Irish amateur boxing. "The European Championships will be very competitive and if we don't bring our best performance to the table, then someone else will take our place. We won five medals at this level the last time, an incredible achievement.

"The 2011 European Championships will undoubtedly be another big challenge for us. We'll be taking it one bout at a time. If we get our performances right then I would be confident that the results will follow."

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