There was agony for Brett McGinty in tonight’s Irish middleweight final as the St Johnston man was beaten by his old rival Michael Nevin at the National Stadium.
by Chris McNulty, Ringside at The National Stadium
McGinty had Nevin rocked to the core towards the end of the first stanza, but the Portlaoise puncher recovered to take a 4-1 verdict from the judges.
The blow from McGinty that sent Nevin spiralling to the ropes in a neutral corner was a pointer to a future direction Oakleaf ABC’s McGinty may take down a professional path.
Just as the timber was falling at the end of the opening round, McGinty had Nevin on the ropes for a count, the disappointment there that the round ended too swiftly for his liking.
Nevin’s eyes said it all as he took to the stool, but taking a seat enabled the Midlander to find himself again.
Another few seconds and maybe, just maybe, McGinty might’ve been able to land a decisive blow. Nevin could certainly be thankful that the bell sounded when it did.
McGinty – who was making light of the lopsided pre-fight odds that had him as far out as 7/1 with some bookmakers – got through again for another firecracker in the second, but Nevin responded with a volley of his own.
There was little between them for most of the fight and it was an eye-catching display by McGinty, who was giving up a height advantage to Elite debutant Nevin.
Nevin had eased to the finals night with wins over David Biscevas and Gerard French last weekend. But there was a notable, if rare, chink in Nevin’s armour on the Saturday night. French rocked Nevin with a ferocious right in the second round, but Nevin’s ability to take that blow and respond to claim a unanimous win was perhaps a a hint of an opportunity for the Oakleaf contingent.
And it proved that way as the rugged McGinty cut Nevin to the core.
McGinty danced under these same spotlights last year, but lost out to Dean Walsh in the Elite welterweight final. McGinty also reached the Ulster Elite final in 2017, but was beaten by another Walsh, Aidan, at the Ulster Hall in November.
McGinty and his team looked deep after that reversal and decided to move up to the 75kgs division.
Wins last weekend over Glory Carlos Imuala and Kelyn Cassidy showed the 2015 Commonwealth Youth silver medalist to be at home at the new weight.
Two years ago, McGinty had the measure of Nevin in the Under-18 Championships, when the two jousted at welterweight.
That fight, in May 2016, was Nevin’s last defeat on Irish soil. And for quite a while here it looked as if McGinty might be on his way to emulating Danny Ryan and Jason Quigley to bring the middleweight belt back to Donegal.
When the numbers were crunched it was Nevin’s hand that was raised and McGinty was left chew on a gut-wrenching defeat from a night that will twirl in the mind for some time with all sorts of what ifs.
Nevin has long been considered a future star of Irish boxing and many tipped now to be his time. Nevin, a three time European gold medalist – at Schoolboy, Junior and Youth levels – was making his Elite finals debut having been kept on a leash following his winning of a World Youth bronze medal in 2016.
McGinty’s conqueror in last year’s welterweight final, Dean Walsh, was beaten last weekend by Oughterard’s Kieran Molloy – who has World and European medals to his name at underage levels – and the stylish Galway man, backed by a vociferous support, put Drogheda’s Eugene McKeever to the sword to take the 69kgs prize.
Spartacus’ Grainne Walsh – the 2016 World and European champion – took the welterweight spoils after a super win over Geesala’s former World Youth champion Ciara Ginty.
Smithfield’s Kiril Afanasev is the new heavyweight kingpin after a bruising win over St Francis’ Kevin Sheehy and Dean Gardiner saw off Martin Keenan to collect the super-heavyweight title.
Former World and European silver medalist Kellie Harrington collected her eighth elite title with a fine triumph over Dundalk’s Amy Broadhurst in the women’s lightweight final and there was an 11th Irish crown for Antrim’s Michaela Walsh, who caught the eye in a spellbinding win over Mulhuddart’s Dervla Duffy.
in the earlier bouts, Edenderry’s Lauren Hogan was an impressive victor over Amanda Loughlin from Dublin in the female 54kgs final while Shannon Sweeney (48kgs) and Nell Fox (81+kgs) had their hands raised in victory with Virginia’s Ceire Smith returning to action for a classy win over Niamh Early at 51kgs.
RESULTS – LIFFEY CRANE NATIONAL SENIOR ELITE CHAMPIONSHIPS
48kgs Shannon Sweeney (St Anne’s) beat Carol Coughlan (Monkstown, Dublin) 3-2
81+kgs Lisa Browne (Aglish) lost to Nell Fox (Rathkeale) 0-4
54kgs Lauren Hogan (Edenderry) beat Amanda Loughlin (St Michael’s, Dublin) 5-0
51kgs Ceire Smith (Virginia/DCU) beat Niamh Early (Ryston) 5-0
60kgs Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan) lost to Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s, Dublin) 0-5
57kgs Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart) lost to Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) 0-5
91kgs Kevin Sheehy (St Francis) lost to Kiril Afansev (Smithfield) 0-5
91+kgs Martin Keenan (Rathkeale) lost to Dean Gardiner (Clonmel) 0-5
69kgs Grainne Walsh (Sparticus) beat Ciara Ginty (Geesala) 5-0
69kgs Kieran Molloy (Oughterard) beat Eugene McKeever (Holy Family, Drogheda) 5-0
75kgs Brett McGinty (Oakleaf) lost to Michael Nevin (Portlaoise) 1-4Tags: