Matthew McCole warmed up for the upcoming Irish Senior Championships with a useful win last night in Raphoe.
Deele College rocked to the sound of canvas as Raphoe ABC held a fine 13-fight tournament with Dungloe southpaw McCole defeating Raphoe ABC’s Orin McDermott in the welterweight showpiece.
Picture: Matthew McCole (right) with opponent Orin McDermott and Raphoe ABC coach Gary McCullagh.
McCole, who last month defeat Colm Trengove from Spartans to win the Ulster Senior welterweight title, goes in the Irish seniors later this month and may yet throw his hat into the Ulster Elite ring.
McCole’s greater fitness showed as he overcame McDermott, a former Irish schoolboy winner.
As the fight wore on, McCole grew while McDermott wilted and the Dungloe man’s greater reserves told in the closing verse.
By then, McCole was in the groove and, though McDermott showed some flashes at times, his hands were by his side in that third round as McCole took advantage for a unanimous decision win.
On the night, Raphoe ABC fighters took wins in seven of the 13 contests.
Ballindrait bantamweight Dennis Lafferty got a marginal decision against Belfast’s Ben Nelson. Lafferty had enjoyed a fine evening against Nelson in the recent Ulster Seniors but, bruised by that defeat, Nelson was in Raphoe eager to make ammends.
Nelson was sporting a slit upon his left eye in the second round, a wound that needed closer inspection before the onset of the third round.
It was a much closer bout than their previous meeting.
A decision either way could have been argued and, in the end, it was Lafferty who, by inches, held sway.
Dunfanaghy’s Sean Kelly showed his prowess as one of Donegal’s in-form boxers with a win over Raphoe’s former Irish champion Eoin McGarrell.
Kelly, who won the Irish Junior 2 crown in April, was slick and sharp for the duration of a tense scrap.
What Kelly conceded in lbs, he made up for in heart and accuracy and Eddie Harkin’s talented protégé – his grandson, as it happens – was toasting his latest success as he headed into the night. Such was Kelly’s form, he even won a prize in the draw!
Convoy middleweight Kenan Gibson didn’t let a second round count stop him in his tracks. A volley from Ruairi McGlinchy of Raphoe had Gibson rocked early in the middle round, but it was Gibson who came good and took the win via a unanimous decision.
In another senior middleweight clash, Letterkenny’s Patrick McConigley had the edge on Paul Darby, the Stranorlar man – an Ulster Intermediate finalist two years ago with Twin Towns – making his debut in the Raphoe vest. McConigley was given the award for best visiting boxer on the night.
Faughanvale man Luke McLaughlin, fighting out of Star of the Sea, took on a welterweight meeting with Daniel Duggan at short notice this week. St Johnston man Duggan was on top for the most part and took a comfortable win on a night when he was named as Raphoe’s Best Senior Boxer of 2017.
In the night’s opening bout, Raphoe’s gutsy Aaron McDaid was beaten by Conor McCrory of Townland BC in Belfast in a 39kgs contest.
Raphoe puncher Brendan O’Hagan came good to defeat Townland’s Terry Hanna. O’Hagan – son of former Armagh All-Ireland winner Barry – was briefly bloodied in the second round, but rallied and took the anger out on the man in blue. O’Hagan ended with a fine third round to take the unanimous verdict.
Oisin McHugh soared to victory against Dungloe man Finnian Rogers in an all-Donegal clash bossed by the determined Raphoe puncher.
Oran Devine of Raphoe had to dig deep to overcome Leon Ward from St John Bosco and a stirring third round gave Danny Buchannan the nod in a belter of a bout against Omagh’s Conor McGillion and Buchannan was also presented with Raphoe’s Boxer of the Year award.
There was little to choose between featherweights Liam Crawford and Aiden Douglas, but the greater work was done by Douglas who took the verdict.
Dungloe’s Pauric O’Donnell took a count in the first round after shipping a body blow from Liam McMonagle. O’Donnell managed to stay standing, but Raphoe’s McMonagle landed a couple of whopping shots just shy of the final bell and deservedly took the full house from the judges.
There was further celebration for McMonagle, who was presented with the Brendan Ryan Memorial Shield, having been named as Raphoe ABC’s Junior Boxer of the Year.
RAPHOE ABC TOURNAMENT
Boy 2 39kgs Aaron McDaid (Raphoe) lost to Conor McCrory (Townland) 0-3
Boy 3 42kgs Brendan O’Hagan (Raphoe) beat Terry Hanna (Townland) 3-0
Youth 2 70kgs Oran Devine (Raphoe) beat Leon Ward (St John Bosco) 2-1
Boy 4 52kgs Danny Buchannan (Raphoe) beat Conor McGillion (Omagh) 2-1
Boy 3 57kgs Liam Crawford (Raphoe) lost to Aiden Douglas (Townland) 1-2
Youth 1 60kgs Liam McMonagle (Raphoe) beat Pauric O’Donnell (Dungloe) 3-0
Youth 2 52kgs Eoin McGarrell (Raphoe) lost to Sean Kelly (Dunfanaghy) 1-2
Youth 2 60kgs Oisin McHugh (Raphoe) beat Finnian Rogers (Dungloe) 3-0
Senior 56kgs Dennis Lafferty (Raphoe) beat Ben Nelson (Townland) 2-1
Senior 75kgs Ruairi McGlinchey (Raphoe) lost to Kenan Gibson (Convoy) 1-2
Senior 75kgs Paul Darby (Raphoe) lost to Patrick McConigley (Letterkenny) 0-3
Senior 69kgs Daniel Duggan (Raphoe) beat Luke McLaughlin (Star of the Sea, Derry) 3-0
Senior 69kgs Orin McDermott (Raphoe) lost to Matthew McCole (Dungloe) 0-3