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Ireland can deal with expectations

IRELAND will go into the hat with 39 other nations for the European Senior Championships draw in Ankara, Turkey today.

The nine-man Irish squad arrived last Saturday ahead of the continental deciders, the opening bell of which will ring tomorrow.

Having claimed a record-breaking five medals to finish in second spot behind hosts Russia at the 2010 European Championships at the Ice Palace in Moscow, expectations are high.

And Irish head coach Billy Walsh -- who will be working Ireland's corner in Ankara along with Zuar Antia and Jimmy Halpin -- is expressing quiet confidence that, if his charges can get their performances right over the next seven days, they can manage those expectations.

Olympic berths for top 10 at World Championships

boxers from eight of the 10 weight categories -- light-flyweight to light-heavyweight -- will qualify for the London Olympic Games if they finish in the top 10 at the AIBA World Championships, which get under way in Baku, Azerbaijan, on September 22.

Fighters reaching the last eight in Baku are guaranteed Olympic places, along with the two boxers beaten in the last-16 phase by the eventual finalists in their weight categories.

Six will qualify from the the heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions -- those reaching the semi-finals, along with two boxers beaten in the quarter-finals by the eventual finalists.

There will be one final Olympic qualifier for European boxers at a venue to be decided next April.

The 2012 Women's Championships in China next April/May will act as the only qualifier for female boxers.

D-Day for Niland in Grand Slam quest


CONOR NILAND heads into uncharted territory today when he bids to nail down a place in the main draw for Wimbledon.

Unlike his two previous best-of-three-sets matches in the qualifying competition, the Irish No 1 faces the possibility of having to go to five sets to see off Croatia's Nikola Mektic.

The Limerick man has an 87-place advantage in the world rankings over Mektic (274), who beat Russia's 200-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov in the last round.


THE Irish National Show Jumping Championships will take place at Ennis Showgrounds from August 30 to September 1 and will include a National Grand Prix Championship, National Speed Championship and National Ladies Championship.

Irish Independent