The recently revamped Munster juvenile leagues are proving a tremendous stimulus for the boxers from Ennis Boxing club, and although the recent spell of bad weather has not made it easy for travelling clubs three of the scheduled four tournaments have been successfully negotiated.
The leagues are much coveted by the boxers, who use them as a yardstick to gauge their championship prospects in the coming year.
54kilo champion Lee Sherlock has been in sparkling form thus far, and has shown good form against Limerick opponents Dave Roche and International Pat McDonagh , the Shannon domiciled triple Irish champion.
Sherlock suffered a nose injury in training earlier this week and looks doubtful for his club’s staging of the leagues on this Sunday in Ennis.
Brothers Simon and John McDonagh in the 52kg and 57kg divisions came through their battles with 100% success. Simon beat both Adam O’Donnell and Mike O’Donoghue on successive weekends in Limerick, while brother John stopped Jack Doyle (St Francis) in the first round on Sunday week last, and edged out Jack Connolly from Clonmel on Sunday last in a rather nondescript encounter. Incidentally, younger sibling Jim, in his first year of action, has been showing excellent form beating Martin Casey (St Francis) and running Andrew Connolly from Clonmel to a split decision on Sunday last.
44kilo southpaw Mike McDonagh who was a silver medalist in this years National Championships, is looking to go one better in March and his record to date is quite impressive, with only one loss in seventeen contests. He gave an exhibition of body punching to comprehensively outpoint Airias Vitlipas from the St Davids club, Naas, in Rathkeale on Sunday last.
Coach Sean Carrig was immensely impressed with his southpaw protégé’s ringcraft and accuracy and reckons that recent form suggests that McDonagh has the adaptability and power to beat anything in his weight.
Ennis beginners Conor Doyle (42kg) and Luke Carmody (46kg) are showing much potential, and they met with mixed fortunes against Roger O’Donoghue and Frank O’Brien respectively on Sunday last. Doyle survived an early onslaught from O’Donoghue to power his way to victory in the final round, while Carmody found Limerick’s Steve Howard an elusive target and lost out narrowly. Female boxers are looming large in Clare over the past twelve months, with Kayleigh McCormack and Antoinette Keane both capturing titles in some style. Sunday last saw the female progression continue as Sally Carrig emerged victorious from her 66kg battle with Limerick’s Lisa Meehan.
The final leg of the leagues will be staged in Ennis on this Sunday at 2pm and should see the long awaited return of the injured Lee Brady who has been out with injury over the past month. Brady, an all-rounder, won an U-14 Colleges football medal with his Alma Mater Rice College this week and showed no ill-effects whatever in that battle and will be favoured to make his comeback bout a winning one on Sunday.
Keelan Sexton , who is the reigning Irish 64kilo boy 2 champion, has been busy over the past few months travelling at weekends for squad training with the International team in preparation for the upcoming Home Internationsls. He has just announced that he has transferred to the Ennis Club from his native West Clare club, with whom he won his two National titles.