Brett McGinty suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Monkstown’s Aidan Walsh in tonight’s Ulster Elite welterweight final at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.
By Chris McNulty, ringside at the Ulster Hall
Against the backdrop of The Mulholland Grand Organ, an imposing old English pipe organ that stands impressively at the rear of the hall, Antrim man Walsh out-gunned McGinty, who had an off-night as his Commonwealth Games dream evaporated.
It was a clash of styles in a bout that never really came to life.
Walsh frustrated the McGinty, who couldn’t find the high notes. Walsh was out of the blocks with a few left jabs that kept the St Johnston man at bay.
McGinty’s calling card in recent times has been in the form of those punishing, stomach-churning body blows.
But Walsh managed to avoid a scenario where McGinty was able to land any his trademarks. At times, Walsh appeared reluctant to throw and the Oakleaf ABC crew’s frustrations grew as the contest ticked on.
In the second round, the two boxers, in a clutch close to the blue corner, went out the ropes and onto a table occupied by one of the judges and a journalist.
Walsh’s knack of turning McGinty – who was not in his usual come-forward manner – away to stay out of trouble was a factor but by the end Walsh’s corner could be bemused at a split decision, four of the five judges siding with the man in blue.
Walsh’s sister Michaela, who won the female 57kgs title, via a walkover, remarked that it wasn’t nine minutes that won the McGeough Cup for her brother. “That’s eleven years, there,” she remarked in the foyer of the Ulster Hall.
It has been seven years since the iconic Bedford Street venue, in the heart of Belfast, played host to the Ulster Elite finals and a capacity crowd, in excess of 1,200 patrons, made for a raucous night.
Back then, when the finals were last here, McGinty was winning Irish Schoolboy titles. With the passing of time, McGinty has won eight Irish titles and this year, in advance of his 19th birthday, boxed in the Irish Elite welterweight decider, losing out to the experienced Dean Walsh.
McGinty last week defeated Nathan Watson in his semi-final at the Dockers Club, just across town. Watson’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the second round, while Walsh caught the eye in his win over Gerard French.
These two had been team-mates for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
There, Walsh came away with light-welterweight gold after a final win over Mathew Rennie from the Isle of Man. McGinty reached the welterweight final, but had to settle for silver with England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar edging the bout.
McGinty was backed by his usual vocal support, but it was to be a night of despair as their dreams were crushed.
Although these finals were to act only as a guide for the selection of the NI team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, chances of a box-off at this stage appear remote with Walsh now a shoe-in for a seat on the plane.
The super-heavyweight crown was captured by Letterkenny native Stephen McMonagle, operating out of the Holy Trinity club in Belfast, on a walkover while former Raphoe ABC puncher Caroline Connolly took a walkover win in the female 81kgs final.Tags: