Boxing: Walsh wary of rivals despite kind draw for Conlan and Barnes
John Joe Nevin and team captain Darren O'Neill will be first into action for Irl's boxers at the ExCel Arena this afternoon.
Bantamweight Nevin will be in the Olympic ring at approximately 2.15 against Denmark's Dennis Ceylan, while middleweight O'Neill boxes Nigeria's Muideen Olalekan Akanji roughly one hour later.
The draw was kind to Belfast duo Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan, who both received first-round byes and, accordingly, are now just two fights away from medals.
Wexford welterweight Adam Nolan gets his Olympic campaign under way tomorrow evening against Ecuador's Carlos Sanchez Estacio.
Head coach Billy Walsh admitted that Nevin and O'Neill both face tricky opening assignments.
"Yeah, two tough ones," he said. "The Danish guy (Ceylan) is their only qualifier and a good boxer. We've sparred with him before and it will be touch and go."
Bizarrely, Nevin -- despite being ranked four in the official world rankings -- found himself seeded five and thus excluded from the byes. He beat Ceylan at the European Championships in 2008.
"I'm a little bit disappointed" admitted Walsh. "You'd have thought being the No 4 seed would have got him one. Darren then fights a Nigerian, so we'll have to go back and look at some tapes because we don't really have a lot on him.
"But this guy came out of Africa and will be tough and strong. That said, we'd be hopeful enough for Darren. My impression coming here is that it was going to be tough and that's exactly the way it's turned out.
"Anyone who is in it is going to be of good quality and the way it's panned out we've got some very, very tough opponents. But maybe all of them will be thinking the same thing about us."
Walsh welcomed the byes for Conlan and Beijing medalist Barnes. "Yeah it is nice to get a couple, but sometimes it's good to get into a contest and get a fight under your belt," he said.
As for Nolan's opponent, Walsh admitted: "We have some footage, so we'll go back and research that when we go in. Adam is in great form and he'll give anyone a good go."
boxing draw (irish)
Last 32 (1.30 session) -- Bantamweight (56kg): JJ Nevin (Irl) v D Villy Ceylan (Denmark). Middleweight (75kg): D O'Neill (Irl)v MO Akanji (Nigeria).
Last 32 (8.30pm session) -- Welterweight (69kg): A Nolan (Irl) v CS Estacio (Ecuador).
Last 16 (8.30pm session) -- Flyweight (51kg): M Conlan (Irl) v DA Micah (Ghana) or JO Lavigilante (Mauritius).
Last 16 (1.30 session) -- Light-flyweight (49kg): P Barnes (Irl) v A Darra (Morocco) or T Essomba (Cameroon).
Quarter-final (1.30 session) -- Lightweight (60kg): K Taylor (Irl) v Q Underwood (USA) or N Jonas (GB).