Joe Ward (blue) in action

Joe Ward (blue) in action

Former IABA President Breandán Ó Conaire confirms that the inaugural Irish Championships took place at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin 95 years ago this month.

“Their first major all-Ireland tournament was at Dalymount Park in July 1920, and the first championship took place at the Abbey Theatre in February 1922,” writes Ó Conaire in a superb piece in History Ireland.

Two years later the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, now the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, sent a team to the Paris 1924 Olympics, Ireland’s first appearance at an Olympiad as an independent nation.

The 1924 squad, which was dominated by army men, was coached by Scotland-born James “Tancy” Lee.

Ireland’s chiefs seconds said it was his job to teach men to “fight without bullets!”

Ireland did not win any medals at Paris 1924, but Tipperary’s Paddy Dwyer did reach the semi-finals but had to pull out of the box-off for bronze because of injury.

Cork feather, Maurice “Mossy” Doyle, was beaten in the preliminaries in the French capital by eventual gold medallist Jackie Fields who was then just 16.

The Jewish-American, real name Jacob Finkelstein, was advised by his coach to change his name to Jackie Fields because his real name didn’t sound “tough enough” for a boxer. AIBA have confirmed that Fields is the youngest Olympic champions of all time.

National Stadium on opening night for the venue in 1939

National Stadium on opening night in 1939

Seventeen years after the first Irish Championships at the Abbey Theatre, the National Stadium, the first purpose-built boxing venue in the world, was opened the Dublin in 1939.

The venue will host the 2017 edition of National Elite Championships tomorrow evening.

National Elite Finals 2017 National Stadium Dublin (7.30pm)

48kg Shannon Sweeney ( St. Annes) V Kristina O’Hara (St John Bosco Belfast)
51kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Rd.) Walkover
56kg Kurt Walker ( Canal) V Stephen Mc Kenna (Old School)
69kg Gillian Duffy (Bray) V Grainne Walsh (Spartacus)
57kg Moira McElligot (St Michaels Athy) V Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart)
54kg Terri Mullarney (Ballyhaunis) Walkover
81kg Caroline Connolly (Mourne Golden Gloves) V Leona Houlihan (Crumlin/Defence Forces)
49kg Darryl Moran (Illies Golden Gloves) V Blaine Dobbins (St Joseph’s Derry)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate) V Anthony Browne (St Michaels Dub)
60kg Kelly Harrington (Glasnevin) V Shauna O’Keeffe (Clonmel)
60kg George Bates (St. Marys Dublin) V Patrick Mongan (Olympic)
64kg Emma Agnew (Dealgan) V Ciara Ginty (Geesala)
64kg Sean Mc Comb (Holy Trinity) V Wayne Kelly (Ballynacargy)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St. Pauls) V Thomas McCarthy (Mayfield)
69kg Dean Walsh (St Ibars) V Brett Mc Ginty (Oakleaf)
75kg Christine Desmond (Fr. Horgans) Walkover
75kg Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin) V Stephen Broadhurst (Dealgan)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) V Kenneth Okungbowa (Athlone)
91+kg Martin Keenan (Rathkeale) V Thomas Carty (Glasnevin)
81+kg Maeve Mc Carron (Carrigart) Walkover


Official in Charge: Stephen Connolly

Chief Whip: Paddy Osbourne

Medical Record Books: Anna Moore and Maura Campbell

Ring Announcer: Al Morris

MC: Peter O’Donnell

Time Keeper: Loughlin Gannon

Glove Stewards: Tommy Fitzsimons, Philip Roche and Stephen Kavanagh