Steven Donnelly in action in Rio

Steven Donnelly (blue) in action in Rio in an earlier bout..

Stephen Donnelly and Brendan Irvine bowed out of the Olympic Games in Rio today.
Ballymena BC welter Donnelly lost to Morocco’s current World Elite champion Muhammad Rabii in a top class 69kg quarter-final.
The heavy-handed North African,who is now guaranteed at least bronze,had his hand raised in victory on a split decision.
Donnelly took two standing counts in the last round – once after a clash of heads and the other after tripping over his own foot?
Rabii received a public warning after the clash of heads – from which Donnelly got the first count? – in an otherwise clean and open contest.
The Moroccan did most of his good work in the closer exchanges.Donnelly,switching stances throughout and finding the target regularly in the opening round,can consider himself unlucky to have gone back to his corner with all three judges scoring the opening three minutes 10-9 against him.
Rabbi,who qualified twice for Rio, had an improved second.Closing down space and upping his intensity, the World Series of Boxing (WSB) champion’s work was the more accurate, but one judge went with Donnelly,who finished the round with a flourish.
With Rabbi leading 20-18 and two cards and the bout tied 19-19 on the other,Donnelly needed a stoppage in the last stanza, a frame featuring some bewildering calls by the third man in the ring who had otherwise excelled at staying out of the way and letting both of them at it.
Donnelly did detonate some big lefts going down the final stretch,but Casablanca-native Rabbi, always solid on his feet and mostly shuffling forward,soaked up anything his opponent threw at him and responded with big shots off both hands to seal victory and a place in the last-four.
“He’s world champion, I knew coming in. I always believed in myself coming in here and you could see that in my performance, said Donnelly, who qualified through the WSB and who won two of his three fights over the last six days in Rio.
“”I gave it my all. The count he (ref) gave me in the last round, I actually tripped over my foot. That maybe swung the momentum his way. I’m proud of my efforts here. I’m disappointed not to get the medal and bring it home.

“But I’m happy enough and I’m proud of myself nonetheless. I’ve lifted the spirits (of the Irish squad) twice, but unfortunately I couldn’t do it again today.”


Brendan Irvine (blue) in action today

Brendan Irvine (blue) in action today


Earlier,Brendan Irvine lost at the last 32 stage.The St Paul’s BC ace,making his Olympic debut,was beaten by Shakhobidin Zoirov.

The Uzbek southpaw impressed en route to a unanimous decision.Zoirov flashed home a left in the opening seconds of today’s flyweight battle and never really looked back from that punch on.

Irvine had his moments in all three rounds,but most times he got through his aggressive opponent replied with swift three and four-punch combos. 

Meanwhile, World and European Elite bantamweight champion Michael Conlan meets Armenia’s Aram Avagyan for a place in the quarter-finals at approximately 3.30pm (Irish time) tomorrow.

Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee and Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin clash in the corresponding bout.
Twenty-four-year-old Ayagyan qualified for Rio  after winning the third place box-off at the European qualifiers in Turkey earlier this year.
The Yerevan orthodox, a 2013 European Elite bronze medallist, has one win under his belt in Rio.
He has 182 bouts to his name going into his meeting with the Irish No. 1 seed in the 56kg class.
Katie Taylor meets Finland’s Mira Potkonen at 3pm (Irish time) Monday for a place in the semi-finals and at least bronze.

Conlan and Taylor, both No.1 seeds in their respective weights, are the last two Irish boxers left in Rio.


Irish Draw Rio Olympics

August 7th (last 32)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Andrique Allisop (Seychelles) 3-0
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) beat Zahir Kedache (Algeria) 3-0

August 8th (last 16)
49kg Paddy Barnes (Ireland) lost to Samuel Carmona (Spain) 1-2

August 9th (last 16)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) lost to Albert Selimov (Azerbaijan) 0-3

August 10th (last 16)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) lost to Carlos Andreas Mina (Ecuador) 1-2

August 11th (last 16)
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) beat Tuvshinbat Byamba (Mongolia) 2-1

August 12th (last 16)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) lost to Uziel Rodriquez (Mexico) W/O

August 13th (last 32)
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) lost to Shakhobidin Zoirov (Uzbekistan) 0-3
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) lost to Mohammed Rabii (Morocco) 1-2

August 14th (last 16)
56kg Michael Conlan (Ireland) v Aram Avagyan (Armenia)

August 15th (Q/Final)
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) v Mira Potkonen (Finland)


Irish squad

60kg (Lightweight) – Katie Taylor (Bray)

49kg (Light-flyweight) – Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52kg (Flyweight) – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
56kg (Bantamweight) – Michael Conlan (Clonard)
60kg (Lightweight) – David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy & AIBA Pro Boxing)
69kg (Welterweight) – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg (Middleweight) – Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg (Light-heavyweight) – Joe Ward (Moate & AIBA Pro Boxing)

Team Manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan
Physio: Julianne Ryan
Sport Psychologist: Gerry Hussey
Doctor: Jim Clover