Saturday 20 January 2018

Performance of the highest standard after trojan work

Billy Walsh's time at the IABA's High Performance Unit saw great success for Irish boxers
Billy Walsh's time at the IABA's High Performance Unit saw great success for Irish boxers Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association's High Performance Unit, with Billy Walsh as head coach, took a few years to make an impact.

The unit was set up in late 2002 with Gary Keegan as director and Walsh and then Zaur Antia as coaches.

Andy Lee, now WBO World middleweight champion, was the only Irish boxer to qualify for the 2004 Olympics.

Katie Taylor secured European Elite gold a year later and then claimed her first World Elite in 2006.

The year 2007 marked a major breakthrough for the High Performance Unit, with Walsh helping to steer our boxers to three gold and two silver medals at the European Union Championships in Dublin.

Ken Egan, Roy Sheahan and the late Darren Sutherland won gold, while Carl Frampton, the current IBF World super-bantam champion, and Cathal McMonagle bagged silver to confirm Ireland as the top team in the EU.

A year later, Egan, Sutherland and Paddy Barnes won Ireland's only medals - one silver and two bronze - at the Beijing Olympics.

Then, at the 2012 Olympics in London, Taylor won gold, Nevin took silver, with Barnes and Michael Conlan taking bronze.

This year's Men's World Elite Championships was Walsh's crowning glory, with Conlan winning our first gold and Joe Ward and Michael O'Reilly silver and bronze respectively.

Ireland's major medals with Walsh in our corner

Olympic Games

2008: K Egan (silver), D Sutherland (bronze), P Barnes (bronze)

2012: P Barnes (bronze), M Conlan (bronze), JJ Nevin (silver), K Taylor (gold)

World Elite Championships

2006: K Taylor (gold)

2008: K Taylor (gold)

2009: JJ Nevin (bronze)

2010: K Taylor (gold)

2011: JJ Nevin (bronze)

2013: J Quigley (silver), J Ward (bronze)

2014: K Taylor (gold)

2015: M Conlan (gold), J Ward (silver), M O'Reilly (bronze)

European Elite Championships

2004: A Lee (bronze)

2005: K Taylor (gold)

2006: K Taylor (gold), K Egan (bronze)

2007: KTaylor (gold)

2008: R Hickey (bronze), JJ Joyce (bronze)

2008: E O'Kane (bronze)

2009: K Taylor (gold)

2010: P Barnes (gold), D O'Neill (silver), T McCullagh (bronze), E Donovan (bronze), K Egan (bronze).

2011: K Taylor (gold), R Moylette (gold), J Ward (gold)

2013: JJ Nevin (gold), J Quigley (gold), P Barnes (silver), M Conlan (silver).

2014: K Taylor (gold), C Grace (bronze)

2015: M Conlan (gold), J Ward (gold), D Walsh (gold)

European Games

2015: K Taylor (gold), M O'Reilly (gold), B Irvine (silver), S McComb (bronze).

Irish Independent

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