Meet the Team: Paris 2024

10 Team Ireland boxers, and 4 High Performance Coaches, are preparing to contest the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – marking Team Ireland Boxing’s Olympic Centenary.

The Road to Paris

Team Ireland boxers’ preparations for Paris, resulting in qualification of the largest boxing team since Rome 1960, have included the European Games (QE), the 1st and 2nd Olympic Qualifiers, Usti nad Labem Grand Prix the 2024 European Championships and the 74th & 75th Strandja Memorial Tournaments. The team has attended 3 multi-nations sparring camps in Assisi and a camp in Hua Hin, Thailand, a multi-nations camp at the Germany Olympic Training Centre, Kienbaum, as well as the HPU created Heat Acclimatisation camp in Tenerife in December 2024.

High Performance, in order to ensure the best possible training environment for Team Ireland boxers has, since September, hosted a Super Camp with Ukraine, a Women’s Camp with Spain, France and Turkey, a Men’s Camp with Spain and Ulster, and a dual-nations camp and international with Ukraine.

These key preparation events are underpinned by excellence in technical boxing learning in the Daily Training Environment in the Sport Ireland Institute, driven by Head Coach, Zauri Antia, and Coaches Damian Kennedy, James Doyle, Lynne McEnery and Eoin Pluck. Overseen by High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle, boxers also have access to world class Sport Ireland and Sport NI Sport Science Practitioners in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition, Performance Analysis, Physiology, Physiotherapy and Sport Psychology.

This profiles are part of the Seconds Out: Stories of Irish Boxing series, commissioned and driven by IABA, and produced/directed by Lowki Culture, and supported by Sport Ireland.

50kg Daina Moorehouse; Enniskerry BC

A 4’ 11” pocket-rocket who famously used to rise daily at 6am to train before school, Daina won gold and ‘Best Boxer’ at the European Juniors in 2017 when she was just 15.

In 2018 she beat a Russian to clinch the European Youth title and made the quarter-finals of World Youths. In 2019 she won another European Youth medal (bronze) and in 2023 she reached the quarter-finals of European U22s and was deemed unlucky not to get past the same stage at the European Games.

She made the last 16 at the first Olympic Qualification tournament in Italy but had to go to the final qualifiers in Bangkok in June where she beat boxers from Armenia and Guatamala before a unanimous victory over Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova punched her first Olympic ticket.

54kg Jennifer Lehane; DCU Boxing Club

Jenny initially starred in Taekwondo, winning two European senior titles and medals at World Junior and Seniors before concentrating on boxing while studying in DCU. A National Elite title in 2021 put her firmly on the IABA High Performance radar and, just two years ago, she put her primary teaching job on hold to train fulltime.

She was just one win short at last year’s European Championships, beaten by the eventual Bulgarian champion in the quarter-finals. At the first Olympic qualifiers in March she suffered a split decision to France’s Romane Moulai but victories over a Puerto Rican, a Ukrainian and a Hungarian at the final Olympic Qualifiers in Bangkok clinched her qualification.

57kg Michaela Walsh: Holy Family GG, Belfast

Michaela won bronze at World Youths in 2011 and Commonwealth silver in 2014 (flyweight) which she repeated at featherweight in 2018 when she also won European Championship bronze.

She took silver at the 2019 European Games and in 2021 qualified for her first  Olympics by finishing runner-up in the final Qualifier and  lost to Italy’s Irma Testa in the last 16 in Tokyo.  

In 2022 she added Commonwealth gold and another European bronze and her bronze at the 2023 European Games – her eighth major medal – also clinched her place in Paris. Michaela and Aidan made history in 2021 as the first sister/brother to ever compete in Olympic boxing and are repeating that achievement in Paris.

60kg Kellie Harrington: St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght

The reigning Olympic 60kg champion. Kellie’s first major was a World silver medal in 2016 (64kg). She won a World title and European bronze at 60kg in 2018 and silver at the 2019 European Games.

Despite the hand injury that delayed her qualification until June 2021 she became Ireland’s third Olympic boxing champion in Tokyo with a unanimous victory over Beatriz Ferreira (Brazil). Since then Kellie has added a European title (2022) and European Games gold in 2023 (which clinched her place in Paris) and two Strandja titles in a remarkable three-year, 32-fight winning streak that began in February 2021. It only ended when she was beaten by Serbia’s Natalia Shadrina in Belgrade in the semi-finals of the 2024 Europeans, returning with a bronze to bring her major medal tally to date to eight (4 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

66kg Grainne Walsh: St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght.

Grainne played soccer for Shamrock Rovers and the Irish U17s before concentrating on boxing, initially with local club Spartacus.

She was a World and European quarter-finalist in 2016 and a bronze medallist at the 2019 European Games but a thumb injury, which eventually needed surgery, derailed her Tokyo Olympic dream and then a dumbbell fell on her toe  in training which also needed surgery.

She looked to have clinched her Olympic debut at the first qualifiers in Italy this year but was on the wrong end of  a split decision and had to go to the final Qualifiers in Thailand in June where she won four fights, beating Armenia’s Ari Hovesepyan to finally secure her ticket to Paris.

75kg Aoife O’Rourke: Castlerea BC

Aoife originally took up boxing to get fitter for inter-county football but quickly emerged as world class, winning silver at her first major (European U22s) in 2018.

She has a phenomenal 27-1 record since making her Olympic debut in 2021 where she lost to China’s two-time silver medallist Qian Li in the last 16. Her only loss since was to USA’s Naomi Graham in the 2022 World Championships.

This year she won her third consecutive European title in Budapest (2019, 2022 & 2024) and beat Qian Li en route to the prestigious Strandja title in February. She secured early qualification for Paris by winning the 75kg at last year’s European Games in Krakow.

57kg Jude Gallagher: Two Castles Olympic BC

Jude qualified for his first Olympic Games in March by winning four rounds of the first Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Italy where he had to reach the top four.

A bronze medallist at the World and European Youth Championships in 2018 he won Commonwealth gold in Birmingham in 2002, beating Joseph Commey in the final but came up against eventual winner Javier Ibanez, a former World Youth champion,  at the Year? Europeans.

He was boxer of the tournament at 2024 National Elite Championships in a particularly stacked featherweight division. His qualification in Milan made him only the second Tyrone boxer to become an Olympian since Tommy Corr fought in Los Angeles 40 years ago.

63.5kg Dean Clancy: Sean McDermott BC

Dean qualified for his first Olympic Games at the European Games in June 2023 where he won bronze and he also won gold at the prestigious 2023 Usti nad Labem Grand Prix.

His first major success was European junior silver in 2017. A year later he won silver at the European Youths and almost replicated that at the Youth Olympics where he lost a box-off for the single bronze on offer. In 2019, four weeks after turning 18, he won his first Irish senior title. In 2021 he bounced back after a bad bout of Covid to win European U22 gold.

He contested the 2023 European Games, coming home with bronze and booking his ticket to Paris in the process. This year he made the quarter-finals of the European Championships where he lost to Azerbaijan’s Malik Hasanov.

71kg Aidan Walsh: Holy Family GG, Belfast

A Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 2018, Aidan won Olympic bronze in Tokyo by beating Merven Clair of Mauritius in the quarter-finals but an ankle injury prevented him from contesting the semi-finals.

His return to his second Olympics is remarkable given that he contemplated retirement in the past 12 months. He returned to the HP unit before a camp in Tenerife last November and came through a gruelling final Olympic Qualifier in Thailand in early June where 70 welterweights chased five spots.

Aidan won three bouts before losing his quarter final to a Jordanian on a split decision. In the box-off for the fifth spot he beat a Cuban and then clinched his second Olympic appearance with a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Angel Gabriel Llanos Perez.

92kg Jack Marley: Monkstown BC, Dublin

Jack started boxing aged eight and won his first All-Ireland title at 11.

In 2021, aged 18, he became the second youngest national heavyweight champion in Irish amateur history. He won a bronze medal at the 2021European U22 Championships and turned that to gold in 2022.

Last year he clinched Olympic qualification by winning silver at the European Games in Krakow where his semi-final victory over Spain’s world bronze medallist Emmanuel Reyes Pla was vital. It not only made him Monkstown BC’s first Olympian but the first Irish heavyweight to win a major international medal in over 60 years.

This year Jack was a bronze medallist at Strandja and lost to Belgium’s Victor Schelstraete in a split decision at the European Championships in April.

Meet The Coaches

Head Coach, Zauri Antia

Coach, Damian Kennedy

Coach, Lynne McEnery

Coach, James Doyle

High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle