Dean Gardiner

Dean Gardiner


Laois middleweight Michael Reilly is one win from qualifying for Rio 2016 and Tipperary super-heavy DeanGardiner is two wins from the 31st Olympiad after both men recorded impressive victories at the Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan today.

O’Reilly beat Mongalia’s  Shinebayor Narmandakh 30-27 across the board and Gardiner claimed the first two rounds to oust Viktor Vychryst of the Ukraine 29-28 on all three cards

The top five middleweight in Baku qualify for Rio. Super-heavyweights must win gold as there is just one Olympic places in the 91kg+ class.

O’Reilly will now meet Azerbaijan’s Kamran Shakhsuvarly in the quarter-finals on Thursday. Gardiner is in against Moldova’s Alexei Zavatin in the semi-finals on Friday.

Michael O'Reilly (blue) in action

Michael O’Reilly (blue) in action

A win for O’Reilly will see him join Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward on the plane to the 31st Olympiad.

Two wins for Gardiner will suffice.

“Michael and Dean were top class today and they will take a lot of confidence from their performances going into their next bouts,” said Irish team manager Joe Hennigan.

Please click here for Thursday’s schedule. Wednesday is a rest day at the tournament.

Gardiner is also guaranteed at least bronze in Baku.



Irish Draw Baku Olympic qualifiers

June 18th

(Last 32)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Mustafa El Molla (Sweden) 3-0

June 19th

(Last 32)

64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) lost to Smetov Ismetov (Bulgaria) 0-3

(Last 16)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner beat Satish Kumar (India) 2-1

June 20th

75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Vitalia Bandarenka (Belarus) 3-0 (last 32)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Wesley Apochi (Nigeria) 0-3 (last 16)

June 21st

Last 16

75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Shinebayor Narmandakh (Mongolia) 3-0


91+kg Dean Gardiner (Ireland) beat Viktor Vychryst (Ukraine) 3-0

July 23rd


75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Kamran Shakhsuvarly (Azerbaijan)

July 24


91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) v Alexei Zavatin (Moldova)


Irish Squad

64kg (Light-welter) Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)

75kg (Middleweight) Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)

91kg (Heavyweight) Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91kg + (Super-heavy) Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Team manager Joe Hennigan

Coaches: Zaur Antia and Eddie Bolger

Performance Analyst Alan Swanton

Sports Psychologist: Gerry Hussey