BY CHRIS MCNULTY
Ringside at the National Stadium
BRETT McGinty summonsed something strong from within to defeat Kevin Kehoe and claim the 70kgs title at the National Senior Cadet Championships.
The St Johnston native and Oakleaf ABC boxer took victory for what was the sixth national title of the 15-year-old’s career, but not before a nervy wait for his band of followers.
Against a slippery southpaw in Kehoe from Kilkenny’s Marble City BC, McGinty was in a battle, but he came good just as the bout and the title were beginning to slip away.
Whispers filtered around the sweltering National Stadium that he was two rounds behind heading into the final instalment and he needed the kill. The rugged Kehoe was flagging and had resorted to holding and frustrating before the correct information made it’s way to the blue corner.
Back in the game, McGinty lit up. He finished with a flourish and a barrage of blows designed to wipe away the memories of his last visit to this canvas – a controversial loss to Christopher O’Reilly of Bracken in the Youth 1 final earlier this year.
“I just felt something clicked inside me,” McGinty said.
“I found something I didn’t know I had to win the last thirty seconds and the fight overall.
“It was hard-earned. I had to dig deep.”
When the scorecards were totted, McGinty was the 29-28, 27-30, 29-28 winner.
A tight and sometimes clumsy scrap evolved with it clear that Kehoe’s reputation as a ‘spoiler’ was not without foundation. That said, Kehoe has not boxed at the World Championships without having a bit if ring-craft either.
Of the two, though, McGinty was the busier and more accurate puncher.
“He upped the ante for the last thirty seconds,” said Oakleaf ABC coach Eugene O’Kane.
“It’s brilliant for him and brilliant for the club.”
McGinty had put the disappointment of losing to O’Reilly behind him with wins over Leon Gallagher (Finn Valley) and Jimmy O’Reilly (Portlaoise) to make his way back to a final.
When Kehoe made his way past Christopher O’Reilly the Kilkenny man made the good folk of the Stadium take note.
McGinty has powerful paws and rocked Kehoe at several stages, particularly with a stinging left hander at the end of the first round. Pushed and held, it took a great deal of mental resolve for McGinty to retain his composure – and, when it came to the crunch, he could pull the better weapons from the cache.
Irish title number six stayed in his grip and he now heads for Anapa, Russia for his third European Championships in October.
SEE MONDAY’S DONEGAL NEWS FOR FULL COVERAGE
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere