Monday 11 December 2017

'She will always be a legend' - Irish fans sum up how we all feel about Katie Taylor's shock

Alan O'Keeffe

The hometown of Katie Taylor was reeling in shock following the defeat of their hero.

Wicklow County Council had installed a giant video screen on the seafront in Bray for what was to be a mini-Rio carnival of celebration because a victory was believed locally to be a foregone conclusion.

A huge cheer erupted when the Irish boxer appeared on the video screen at the open air bandstand.  In brilliant sunshine, parents bought icecream for their children as they prepared for a fiesta in honour of the fighter.

Her defeated was greeted with a collective sigh and was followed by a stunned silence.

Post-fight interviews were being broadcast but most of the people had already drifted away from the venue in disappointment.

People stood with tears in their eyes when Katie's face filled the screen for an interview after the fight. 

“I’m shocked and gutted,” said Bray mother-of-three Trish Harte (45).

“Katie is a great Olympian and she has worked so much of her life for this. It’s a very sad day. She didn’t deserve defeat,” she said.

Bray resident Clare Byrne (51) was crest-fallen at the open air event and spoke of the huge support Taylor has always enjoyed.

"She had a tough year. I thought the fight was very close and I'm so disappointed. I will remain one hundred percent a big fan of Katie's.

"This is a blow for the whole of Bray. Normally, everybody would have stayed around the seafront after the fight celebrating but big numbers of people are heading home straight away because of the disappointment," she said.

A neighbour of the boxer, Joseph Doolan (52) could not hide his deep disappointment.

"She will always be the darling of the people here in Bray. She needs to take some time to think about it all. She gave everything over the last four years and this is such a shock," he said.

Close to tears, a Dublin woman named Ann (66) travelled from Inchicore in Dublin to watch the fight on the big screen in Katie's hometown.

"I just want to cry. I really feel for Katie. Her father wasn't in her corner and I think she could have missed him.

"All my family usually come to Bray to support Katie during her big fights. She's such a lovely person. There's something really nice about her," she said.

"We're all so proud of Katie. It was terrible to see her so upset," she said.

Bray woman Wendy Murphy (37) said "I'm not really shocked. She tried her best. Maybe it's because she is older now. Unfortunately, she wasn't able today. She has given us some great fights in the past."

Pamela Melia (39) from Ashford, County Wicklow, travelled with a large family group to the seafront event.

"I really expected she was going to go on to win the gold. She looked shocked and heartbroken at the finish. She didn't look herself. We're all so disappointed for her. We watched all her big fights.

"She should know that the people of County Wicklow and the people of Ireland will always be behind her. She'll always be a legend among the people of Ireland.

Local councillor Brendan Thornhill said "Katie has always meant so much to Bray and she has done so much for the town. She's a very humble person who is mindful of people and she has a great Christian outlook."

Local TD Sean Brady said: "Katie need not feel she has left the people down. She did not leave us down. She's still our hero.

"I'm gutted for her. She'll always have a special place in the hearts of the people of Bray and Ireland. She's the best sportswoman the country ever produced," he said.

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