The hectic schedule of boxing continued for the Erne Boxing Club, buoyed by their recent success of Rhys Owens winning a National title, they were back in action with a team of three seeking qualification to the National Finals at Youth 2 (Under 17’s) level.

The club originally had five boxers entered by due to winter bugs two were ruled out with sickness.

First in action at the Mid Ulster Semi final stage was Oisin Gilheaney against Armagh’s Jake Daly (D-Box Boxing Club) in the 57kg Featherweight category.

The heavy-handed Gilheaney took the fight to his opponent and landed with some hard shots in all three rounds. But his opponent’s greater fitness and workrate gave him the edge and whilst all three round were close the decision rightly went in favour of Daly.

Darragh Robinson-Kelly, after recently winning gold at the Brampton Cup in Canada, stepped up to Open Level competition for the first time.

He competed in a straight Mid Ulster final against Joshua McGuckian (Silverbridge Boxing Club) in the 75kg Middleweight class.

McGuckian was very fit and strong, and applied constant pressure throughout but Robinson-Kelly punches were crisp and accurate.

In round three, Robinson-Kelly landed a good combination to force his opponent to take a standing count as he secured a unanimous points win.

The victory saw Robinson-Kelly claim the Mid Ulster crown and progress to the Ulster Final stage but he was made to work every second for the win.

The Club’s third competitor Caoilfhionn Crowley won the Female Light-welterweight 63kg Mid Ulster title and progressed through to the Ulster Finals uncontested as there we no other opponents in her category.

At the Ulster Final stage Darragh Robinson-Kelly met last year’s Ulster Champion Joey O’Hara (Twintowns Boxing Club).

Robinson-Kelly opted to box on the backfoot to bring his shorter opponent on to his shots.

He had some good success as he scored with some good clean punches.

But arguably he had too many spells in the contest where he had his back to the ropes and allowed his Donegal opponent to work in close.

The contest was very competitive and all three rounds were extremely close.

The judges had to decide between the clean scores at long range from Robinson-Kelly or O’Hara’s greater volume.

The verdict was a 3-2 split decision in favour of O’Hara but the Erne Boxing Club’s coaches had no complaints.

The club still has one boxer progressing to the National Finals stage as Caoilfhionn Crowley won her fourth Ulster Title but again she was uncontested.

Erne Boxing Club coach Paul Cassidy who led the corners said: “Oisin was as brave and as game as ever and can be very proud of his performance. He really should have been boxing at Bantamweight 54kgs but just missed the weight and had to move up.

“These championships were only Darragh Robinson-Kelly’s first time competing at Open Class level, so to win a Mid Ulster at his first attempt and narrowly miss out on an Ulster title by a split-decision to a more experienced opponent is a credible measure of how well he’s doing and the progress he’s making.

“Both lads are capable of progressing much further next time.”

The Erne Boxing Club advised that they have a busy few weeks ahead, as they are keen to get Caoilfhionn Crowley some good competition before the National Finals plus their Senior boxers Anthony Malanaphy and Rhys Owens have been selected to represent Ulster in a training camp and match against the Scottish National team.

Caoilfhionn Crowley will out to compete at the Riga Ladies Boxing Cup in Latvia, an international tournament that features many top boxers from the Baltic states and Anthony Malanaphy and Rhys Owens head to Motherwell in Scotland this week.


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