The Tipperary and Kildare pair won double gold at the European Junior Championships after beating Romania’s Maria Gheorghe and Russia’s Azalia Amineva in Anapa, Russia yesterday.
Clonmel BC bantam Gartland, whose twin brother Jerome is also an Irish boxing champion, dominated Gheorghe and Ryston BC feather Dempsey silenced the home fans after earning a split verdict win over Amineva.
Patrick Myers, Lisa O’Rourke and Siniann Glynn claimed silver and Irish female captain Leanne Murphy, Jon McConnell, Leah Gallen, Kaitlyn Doyle, Kori Goad, Michael Donohoe, Barry O’Connor and Breda Quilligan won bronze.
The record medal haul and performance of the entire 25-strong squad saw Ireland finish in third spot in the rankings table at the 31-nation competition.
Two-time Irish champion Gartland, who has yet to be beaten internationally after seven bouts, put in the hours in the gym en route to the top of the podium.
She said: “It means everything to me, it’s a dream come true. I have been training so hard the past year for this moment and I couldn’t have done any of it without the help of my brother/coach Jamie Lonergan and my other coach Martin Fennessy.
“I’d like to thank them for putting the effort into me, training me morning noon and night, helping me make the weight and bringing me sparring,” added the new champion who along with Dempsey also thanked the Irish coaches and staff.
When the going go tough in Tuesday’s final with the home favourite, Dempsey started to believe in herself.
She said: “To be honest today was the best day of my life. I worked so hard to get where I am today and I can’t believe it. I have never believed in myself until today.
“I’m so grateful for it and I just can’t believe it, all the hard work that my trainers put into me mentally and physically, I just can’t believe it.
“I had three very hard competitions and today was the hardest as she was home girl, but I just dug deep. I really wanted it, so I went for it.”
Team Ireland are due home at 12.05pm tomorrow (October 18) via Dublin Airport (Terminal 1). All media, family and friends are invited to attend Thursday’s homecoming.
IABA President Dom O’Rourke was at ringside in Anapa and Anna Moore and Joe Hennigan were Irish team managers.
Head coach Billy McClean, Eve Carr, Liam Cunningham, James Doyle, Brian Barry and Martin Donovan worked Ireland’s corner at an intense tournament for Irish boxing.
Aideen Floyd was Irish referee and judge.
(Images courtesy of Anna Moore and IABA staff)