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Irish titles for Carrig and McCormack

Clare boxers Sally Carrig and Kayleigh McCormack captured Irish titles in the national Youth and Girl Boxing Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday last perpetuating a proud county tradition of fighting excellence.
Both girls won in contrasting fashion with Sally from the Ennis club making her debut at this, the highest level in girls boxing. The seasoned yet precocious Kayleigh added 57kg title to the one that she won in style last year.
Clare coach Seán Carrig was delighted with the two titles and was particularly proud of the three other finalists from Clare, Lee Sherlock (54kg), Caoilinn McCormack (52kg) and defending champion Antoinette Keane (63kg), fought magnificently in their respective finals.
Kilfenora’s Kayleigh McCormack came through a bruising semi-final against the durable Lauren Smith (South Meath), having led from the opening bell on Friday night. Her opponent in the final, Ulster champion Rosemary Doherty from the Carndonagh club, was experienced but found it hard to cope with the fast-forward urgency of the Clare girl’s blistering attacks and was well beaten at the final bell.
Sally Carrig never doubted her own ability at this level and was positive in spite of a hand injury she sustained in her semi-final battle last week with Ulster champion Kay McAuley (St Mary’s Derry).
Her opponent in the final, Ciara Loftus from the Ardagh club in Mayo, obviously had word of Sally’s wounded right fist and began the bout in blistering fashion but the Ennis girl set the record straight early on with powerful left jabs to the head and the occasional right to the body.
It was level at 3-3 at the end of the first, and Sally, growing in confidence, deployed the right hand to great effect in the second to lead 8-3 at the bell. She overwhelmed her opponent in the third winning on an emphatic 14-3 scoreline.
Silver medalists Caoilinn McCormack (Kilfenora) and Antoinette Keane (Ennis) both fought their hearts out in their respective finals against Helen Carty (Paulstown Kilkenny) and Shani Just (Grangecon Louth) but neither could complain about the decisions against them in the end.
Caoilinn fought in her own aggressive fashion hoping to break down the Kilkenny girl’s tight defence but was taking shots over the top as a result and lost out on a scoreline 6-3.
Defending champion Antoinette Keane must wait for another year to seek to recapture her crown that she held with great dignity as she had a bad night at the office on Saturday night. Her semi-final on Friday against Katie Hyland (St Anne’s) had been a torrid affair and she carried an injured cheekbone into the final that hampered her ability to stand toe-to-toe with Shani and a 6-2 final scoreline probably reflected the trend of this dour struggle for supremacy.
The only male flag bearer for Clare over the two weekends of the championships was Lee Sherlock from the Ennis club. He had performed with much aplomb in his quarter-final and semi-final battles giving him a great chance in the final against Dubliner John Stokes from the Mulhuddart club. Stokes had read the script to perfection though and he switched from his traditional southpaw mode to a perfect orthodox stance and allied with some power, he completely dominated southpaw Sherlock’s fight-plan for a commanding 5-0 victory. Lee’s dad Tom was magnanimous in defeat and conceded that the Dublin fighter adapted perfectly to counteract his son’s speed and southpaw dexterity and was full of praise for Stokes’ ability.

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