Ireland’s medal-laden squad arrived home from the European Schoolboy/Schoolgirl Championships in Albena, Bulgaria via Dublin Airport this morning.
The 31-strong panel re-wrote the history books at the 16th edition of the tournament since the inaugural event in Rome in 2003 and the first competition at this level to feature females.
Fourteen medals – four gold, four silver and 6 bronze – were claimed.
Ireland’s previous best, in terms of gold, was Anapa (Russia) 2012 where three gold medals were secured.
Ireland finished 2nd in the medals table at the 27-nation tournament – Russia, Ireland and England, in that order, topped the table.
Ireland finished second in the rankings table – Russia, Ireland and England, in that order, topped the table
The class of 2018 also broke through the all-time 100-medal ceiling for Irish boxing at the Black Sea resort. Prior to Albena, the count was 89 medals. It’s now 103.
Speaking at the Airport this morning, Dom O’Rourke, IABA President who was with the squad in Bulgaria, hailed the performances of the Ireland panel.
Echoing those accolades, Fergal Carruth, CEO of IABA, at the Airport to welcome the team home with IABA Registrar Stephen Connolly, IABA Secretary Art O’Brien, Anna Moore of the IABA Ladies Commission who does tremendous work on behalf of female boxing, Paddy Gallagher, a leading figure in schoolboy boxing, and Peter O’Donnell, President of the Donegal Board, said the squad did Irish boxing proud.
Family members, club coaches, clubs and friends were also at Terminal to welcome the boys and girls in green home.
The Irish coaching staff of Liam Brereton, Jim O’Neill, Eva Carr, John Gallagher and Tom Hayes and team managers Martin Fennessey and Jennifer O’Sullivan played a crucial role in the success of Albena 2018.
Working on occasions when two boxers were between the ropes simultaneously in Rings A and B and when Ireland were involved in up to 12 bouts on daily schedules, the Irish corner and staff delivered.
Ireland won 30 of 57 contest in Bulgaria.
Russia (20), Ireland (4), England 4), Georgia (2), Italy (1) and Bulgaria (1) shared the gold medals.
Referee and Judge Brian Wallace was Ireland’s third person in the ring and officiated in many preliminary contests and two finals.
Meantime, the Irish medallists in Bulgaria join an illustrious group of Irish athletes who have finished in podium positions at this level over the last 15 years.
These include Olympians Joe Ward, David Oliver Joyce, John Joe Joyce and two-weight World champion Carl Frampton.
Irish boxing is proudly sponsored by Liffey Crane.
European Schoolboy & Schoolgirl Championships Albena, Bulgaria May 21/30
38.5kg Martin Collins (Drimnagh)
40kg Michael Faulkner (Northside) (Gold)
41.5kg William Faulkner (Rathkeale)
43kg Jason Nevin (Olympic Mullingar)
44.5kg Conor Donovan (Clonmel)
46kg Cale Brennan (St Michaels Athy) Cpt
48kg Michael Connors (St Marys Dublin)
50kg James Donovan (O.L.O.L.) (Silver)
52kg Brannon McMahon (Carrickmore)
54kg John Fay (Swords) (Bronze)
56kg James McGuinness (St Monicas)
59kg Thomas McAleer (Swords)
62kg Ryan Murphy (Neilstown)
65kg Joe Hutchinson (Neilstown)
68kg Feidhlim Behan (Kilcullen)
72kg Tyler Meade (Kilnamanagh) (Bronze)
76kg Curtis Darcy (Callan) (Silver)
80kg Patrick McDonagh (St Josephs)
36kg Katie O’Keeffe (Kanturk) (Bronze)
39kg Sophia Elstone (Ardnaree)
42kg Nora Jackman (Paulstown) (Bronze)
45kg Robyn Kelly (Ballynacargy) Cpt (Bronze)
48kg Robyn Murran (St Brigids Kildare) (Bronze)
51kg Labhaoise Glynn (Cloghan)
54kg Yasmin Meredith (Glasnevin) (Gold)
57kg Kaci Crowley (Erne) (Gold)
60kg Laura Moran (St Annes)
63kg Winne Christina McDonagh (Neilstown) (Gold)
67kg Dearbhla Tinnelly (Clann Naofa) (Silver)
70kg Nasya McJin-Igelige (Clann Naofa) (Silver)
IABA President: Dominic O’Rourke
Team Managers: Martin Fennessey and Jennifer O’Sullivan
Coaches: Liam Brereton, Jim O’Neill, Eva Carr, John Gallagher, Tom Hayes
R&J: Brian Wallace