Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor

Team Ireland arrived in Assisi, Italy this afternoon for their final training camp before the European Olympic qualifiers which begin in Samsun, Turkey on April 9.

The team hit the ground running with a training session this afternoon immediately after arriving.

Current World Elite champions Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan and World Elite silver and bronze medallists Joe Ward and Michael O’Reilly are included in an 11-strong panel for the Assisi camp with Italy, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Finland.

Conlan, Ward and Paddy Barnes have already qualified for Rio 2016. The Rio trio return home on April 7 and the rest of the squad travel straight from Assisi to Samsun.

Steven Donnelly, who is slated to line out for the Hussars of Poland in the World Series of Boxing this weekend, has also qualified for Rio.

Joe Ward with Speical Olympics Ireland athletes at National Stadium last week

Joe Ward with Special Olympics Ireland athletes at National Stadium recently

Samsun will yield 36 Olympics places – 30 for men and 6 for women – and is the final continental qualifier following the completion of the Americas, African and Asia/Oceania, which concludes in China this week, qualifying routes.

The three final roads to Rio after Samsun are through the World Women’s Elite Championships in Kazakhstan in May, a World qualifiers (for men) in Baku, Azerbaijan in June and via a World Series of Boxing versus AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) tournament at a date and host city to be confirmed in late June or July.

286 boxers compete at each Olympics. The 31st Olympiad begins in Rio on August 5.

Training Camp Assisi, Italy, March 28/April 7
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans)
49kg Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)
56kg Michael Conlan (Clonard)
60kg David Olive Joyce (AIBA Pro Boxing, St Michael’s Athy)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg Joe Ward (AIBA Pro Boxing, Moate)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan, John Cleary