BY CHRIS MCNULTY
FOR the second year in a row, Jason Quigley and the Finn Valley ABC swept the board at the Donegal Boxing Board’s annual awards on Saturday night at the Abbey Hotel.
The 23-year-old has recently turned professional and won his first two pro bouts in America, but his winning of a World Silver medal last October saw him take the Harry ‘Kid’ Duffy Cup for the best senior boxer on Saturday night.
The awards are to honour achievements between September 1 2013 and August 31 2014 and it was another hugely successful year for Donegal boxers. Quigley topped the bill on Saturday and was the star attraction from the 196 crowd in attendance. He created history in becoming the first Irish male boxer to reach a world final in Almaty.
With wins over Howard Reece and Fernando Najera giving him the perfect start to his pro career, he’s now gearing up for fight number three on October 30 in Boston.
His Finn Valley club-mate Eoin McGarrell took the Michael Bonner Cup for best juvenile boxer after his winning of the Irish Boy 2 33kgs title while Youth Olympic bronze medalist Michael Gallagher, a ten-time Irish champion, took the Dr Denis McLaughlin Memorial Cup for best junior boxer.
Conor Quigley attained three-star coaching status while accompanying Jason to the world championships in Kazakhstan and he was one of three recipients of international awards – alongside Illies Golden Gloves duo Sadie Duffy and Stephen Friel.
For the second year in a row, the Finn Valley ABC was named as the Club of the Year and Paul O’Donnell presented them with the Jimmy Murphy Memorial Cup.
For team Quigley it was a night to be honoured among their own before they head back to their California base later this week ahead of pro bout number two in their career with Golden Boy Promotions.
Jason has estimated that he had 250 fights as an amateur – winning 240 of them!
“It’s a great record to have as an amateur because you’re always out fighting, always in competition and it will really stand to me as a professional,” said Quigley who also won the European Senior title last June.
“That’s great backing to have.
“To go on the run I did last year in 2013 with the Europeans and the Worlds was a great help. I boxed at the World Championships on the 10-9 scoring system and without headgear.
“Ireland isn’t a big country but we have a lot of sporting heroes with a big history. To make history in boxing was absolutely amazing and it was a proud moment.”
With a big Irish diaspora based in Boston, Quigley is expected to draw a crowd at the end of October.
He said: “Everybody knows the support the Irish have – to get the country behind me would be an absolute dream come true.”
His father, Conor, remains his coach and alignment to Oscar De La Hoya’s stable means he’s mixing it with the best while his promotional team, Sheer Sports Management, are experienced in the field.
Quigley said: “I have everything I need and it’s up to me to just go and do the business.”
Twenty-seven Irish champions were honoured on Saturday night and three were recognised for international representation: Brian McNamee (Convoy), Brian Elliot (Letterkenny) and Liam Callaghan (Carndonagh).
Former Olympian Brian Anderson senior (Twin Towns) was inducted into the hall of fame as was Jack Greene (Carrigart), while a special presentation was made to Peter O’Donnell who has served 25 years as the Board’s PRO.
A minute’s silence was held beforehand in memory of Jackie Gallagher, John Gildea senior and Jim White.
Harry ‘Kid’ Duffy Cup for best senior boxer – Jason Quigley (Finn Valley)
Dr Denis McLaughlin Cup for best junior boxer – Michael Gallagher (Finn Valley)
John McLaughlin Cup for best intermediate boxer – Danny Tourish (Twin Towns)
Billy ‘Spider’ Kelly Cup for best youth boxer – Ryan Greene (Illies Golden Gloves)
Michael Bonner Cup for next juvenile boxer – Eoin McGarrell (Finn Valley)
Jimmy Murphy Cup for club of the year – Finn Valley ABC
Appreciation awards – Hugo Boyle (Carrigart) and Liam McMenamin (Twin Towns)
Hall of Fame – Brian Anderson senior (Twin Towns) and Jack Greene (Illies Golden Gloves)
International awards – Conor Quigley (Finn Valley), Sadie Duffy (Illies Golden Gloves) and Stephen Friel (Illies Golden Gloves)
New officials – Tara McCarron (Carrigart), Fergal McLaughlin (Buncrana), Johnny McDaid (Buncrana), Michael Donaghey (Illies Golden Gloves), Gerard Callaghan (Clonmany), Denis Devlin (Clonmany), Eamon McDonnell (Bundoran), Patrick Quinn (Dungloe).
The book looks at the experiences and achievement levels of Irish-born football migrants to Britain and further afield.