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Back in the day: July 5 1998: How long before Ireland sends mixed boxing teams to the Olympic Games?

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WOMEN’S championship boxing in Ireland took a giant leap closer to reality after delegates at the 8th European Congress in Constanta, voted unanimously to set up the first EABA Women’s Boxing Commission.

The two-day Congress in Romania, attended by 83 officials – including Irish boxing president Breandan O’Conaire – from 43 affiliated countries, elected Gilda Anzel (Greece) to chair the new women’s governing body.

It took the threat of legal action to prompt boxing delegates at the World Congress in Beijing in 1994 to first give the go ahead for female boxing.

Now the Constanta ruling is good news for a growing band of young female competitors and officials in Ireland who will be keen to see a speedy implementation of any proposals the Commission may make.

The rise of the female influence in the sport is evident in Friday night’s international against France.

No women in the ring but timekeeper duties go to Olive Keogh, computer operator is Pamela Robinson and Margaret Coyne, who has recently helped set up the Celtic club in her native Galway, is seated as international judge.

Dublin’s Philomena Sutcliffe and Sligo coach Mercedes Taaffe, backed by a strong women’s committee, have been organising and attempting to get women out of the gyms and into the rings.

Like it or not – and there are many within the male-dominated amateur sport who cringe at the prospect – women’s boxing will finally rub shoulders with the men in the corridors of Belfast’s Ulster Hall and Dublin’s hallowed National Stadium in the not too distant future.

And how long before Ireland sends mixed teams to the Olympic Games?

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CROKE PARK officials have confirmed that a draw will take place on Sunday for the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals.

The news has come as something of a surprise to Antrim boss Sean McGuinness, who thought his side would be playing the beaten Leinster finalists, Offaly.

“I took it for granted that it would be a reversal of last year’s cycle,” he said.

“Down played Tipperary last year and I thought that we would be playing the beaten finalists in Leinster this time.

“But it doesn’t make much difference if we have to play Munster again.

“The hurling there is really on a high at the moment, and it would make the day an even bigger occasion.”

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DONEGAL footballers defeated Laois in a one-sided challenge game by 2-22 to 0-7 in Downings at the weekend.

In preparation for the Ulster final against Derry on Sunday week, Declan Bonner tried out a number of different combinations in the forwards, where there are several positions up for grabs.

Brian Roper, who is in the running for a starting berth, and James McHugh both played, while Bundoran midfielder James Ruane was also given a run out. Corner-forward Brendan Devenney came off with an injury which is not thought to be serious, while Tony Boyle did not play, purely as a precautionary measure.

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ON the day his world ranking dropped to a new low – joint 50th – Nick Faldo was the first man to start practising for the £850,000 Standard Life tournament at Loch Lomond yesterday.

The fact that he was up at 6.30am in the morning after he had finished another disappointing week by coming 27th in the Irish Open said everything about the 40-year-old star’s eagerness to end a 16-month victory drought.

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