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Finn Valley’s Michael Gallagher wins tenth Irish title

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By Chris McNulty, Ringside at The National Stadium

MICHAEL Gallagher has won his tenth Irish title.

The powerful Finn Valley ABC heavyweight overcame Cavan’s Gary Maughan in the Irish Open Youth Championship finals at The National Stadium in Dublin.

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Gallagher claimed an impressive win, secured when the referee stopped the contest midway through the second round.

Gallagher had been on top for the most part, chipping away and scoring the shots in comfortable fashion.

When he forced Maughan into a count in the blue corner, he sensed victory. And immediately he set about grabbing the triumph, with a second count in a neutral corner meaning it was the Kinetter man’s hand that was raised.

“It’s absolutely fantastic for Michael – he’s a great talent,” said Finn Valley ABC head coach Conor Quigley.

“He trained for four weeks and came in here to blow everyone away. He’s exceptional.

“We told him after the first round that he’d hurt Maughan and not to let him off the hook.”

Sixteen-year old Maughan was a novice in comparison to Gallagher, with the Cavan man beaten by Cormac Long in the Youth and Cadet finals of last year.

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However, a 3-0 win in his semi-final against Paulstown’s James Mullaney outlined that he wasn’t an opponent to be taken lightly.

Yet Gallagher’s win over James Hughes of Ryston was an indication that he was on the rise again, too.

The first round saw Gallagher take command. While there were a couple of warning shots, and he did lose his balance on one occasion, they were an all-too rare occurrence.

With several heavy body shots Gallagher and Maughan in trouble – and during the second stanza he booked his ticket to the AIBA World Youth Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in April.

At light flyweight, Liam Callaghan from Carndonagh was beaten on a unanimous decision by Brendan Irvine.

Sixteen-year old Callaghan is a year Irvine’s junior and the west Belfast boxer was on fire in the first round to lay the foundations for his tenth Irish title win.

Callaghan took a knee early in a frenetic beginning to the bout, but recovered well by the end of the opening round.

There was a brief moment in the second round where Callaghan – largely living off scraps – made his audience take note. Having ducked out of trouble in the corner, the Donegal lad landed a sharp right hander on Irvine.

The St Paul’s man was unmoved, though, and a blistering third round by Irvine – who has been a dominant force in the 49kg division of late – sealed an impressive win.

“We knew that Irvine was the main man and he had the titles to prove it,” said Carndonagh coach John Mulhern.

National Open Youth Championships – Results:
49kg Liam Callaghan (Carndonagh) lost to Brendan Irvine (St Pauls, Belfast) 0-3
51kg Lauren Hogan (St Bridget’s) lost Kristina O’Hara (Emerald) 0-3
52kg Willie Donoghue (St Michaels Athy) beat Frankie Cleary (Olympic) 3-0
56kg Gary Cully (St Davids Naas) beat Conor Walsh (Tramore) Tko Rd 3
60kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Athlone) lost to Ciara Ginty (Geesala) 0-3
60kg Tiernan Bradley (Sacred Heart) beat Aidan Walsh (Holy Family GG) 2-1
64kg Shane O’Neill (St Davids Naas) lost to Wayne Kelly (Ballinacargy) 0-3
69kg Michael Reilly (Tramore) lost to Caomhin Hynes (Holy Trinity) 3-0
75kg Christine Desmond (Macroom) v Niamh Folan (Conamara) Deferred
75kg Fergus Quinn (Camlough) lost Luke Thomas (Watergrasshill) 0-3
81kg Cormac Long (Rathkeale) beat Sean Conroy (Ballyhaunis) 3-0
91kg Gary Maughan (Cavan) lost to Michael Gallagher (Finn Valley) 0-3
91+kg Niall Gallagher (Sean McDermott) beat Shane Ward (Titans) 2-1

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