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Boxing

Talented teen Colm Murphy tipped for the top as trainer reminded of former St George's star Paul Ireland

Colm Murphy (centre) with St George's coaches Danny Boyd and Jim McGivern
Neil Loughran

NEW kid on the block Colm Murphy has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of former St George’s star Paul Ireland after a stellar fortnight in the ring.

The talented 17-year-old followed up his Ulster Championship success last December by winning four fights in 10 days to add another two titles to his growing collection.

Murphy swept all before him to win the 56kg title at the recent Commonwealth Youth Games tournament, moving the south Belfast teenager a step closer to a possible place in the Bahamas in July.

And last week he was back between the ropes, having his hand raised after winning the Boy 6 Antrim title at 54kg.

St George’s coach Danny Boyd has watched in awe as Murphy has made astonishing progress since first walking through the doors two years ago.

And he sees plenty of similarities between Murphy and Ireland, who boxed for the Markets club in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, landing national titles at every turn before turning over to the paid ranks.

“He’s come on a bucketful - you wouldn’t believe the progress he’s made,” said Boyd of Murphy.

“He reminds me of Paul Ireland because he’s so dedicated - everything he puts his head to, he gives it everything. It’s the same with school as well.

“Murphy’s a cracking kid to train. If I said to him ‘go for a 20 mile run’ he would go out and do it. On the way home after the Antrims last week he said ‘I’m going for a wee run tonight’, but I told him to go home and get a bath, take it easy.

“That’s just the kind of kid he is.”

Along with club-mate Jack McGivern, who also tasted Antrim success, Murphy’s next goal is All-Ireland glory as he gets ready to head to Dublin.

Despite being relatively new to the noble art, Boyd believes his young protégé can come up trumps again.

He said: “I’m 100 per cent confident with this kid going into the All-Irelands.

“Sometime kids can win too much too early, but that’s not the case with Murph. He’s flying.

“He’s one of those kids you’d hate to fight – he’s all-action, in your face. He wouldn’t give you a minute. I’m telling you, he’s Paul Ireland all over - You had to tell him to stop, and that’s the way wee Murph is.

“Both these lads [Murphy and McGivern] we have going down to Dublin are two good quality kids. If they don’t win the All-Irelands this year, they’ll win it next year.”

WALKER CHOOSES EUROPEAN STAGE INSTEAD OF TAKING A BITE OUT OF BIG APPLE

KURT Walker could have been New York-bound had circumstances been different, but instead the three-time Irish champion is in Romania getting ready for the European U22 Championships.

Along with the rest of the Irish team and coaching staff Walker – who turned 22 last week – flew from Dublin yesterday afternoon, with the action set to get under way in Braila after this morning’s weigh-in.

He replaces St George’s star James McGivern on the team, led by Irish head coach Zaur Antia, but Walker could just as easily have been heading to the Big Apple to cheer on friend Michael Conlan.

The former Irish bantamweight king makes his professional debut at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, and Walker admits he had considered making the transatlantic trip.

“I was always training but I was thinking maybe I could get a late deal,” said the Canal fighter.

“If I hadn’t won the seniors I probably would have gone, but that wasn’t going to happen.”

Instead, his sights are set on winning a first European gold medal of the year, before hopefully adding another at the senior equivalent in June.

“I wasn’t expecting to get this chance, it wasn’t in the plan at all, but I just need to keep busy,” added Walker.

“That’s when I’m at my best because if I take too long out, like last year, I’ll get too heavy and I’ll not be as good.

“This is only a stepping stone really to get me a few fights and a bit more experience. I believe I’ve a very good chance of winning gold - if I perform I know I’ll win.”

LEFT HOOKS

A COUNTY Antrim select is to go toe to toe with Derry at Belfast’s Lansdowne Hotel on Thursday night (7pm start).

With 17 bouts scheduled, it promises to be an action-packed night featuring some of the top up-and-coming talent in the north.

Bill as follows (Antrim names first)

B1 39kg: K Smith v P Stokes

B2 35kg: M Doherty v C Weatherall

B2 36kg: C Browne v T Brolly

B2 42kg: E Loughran v DJ Doherty

B3 36kg: M McClintock v B Cooke

B3 48kg: C McCann v P Convery

B3 50kg: R Johnston v T Glennon

B4 39kg: B Collins v S Neeson

B3 44kg: P McCleary v C Gormley

B4 50kg: B Brown v E Quinn

B4 50kg: B Johnston v S Stokes

B4 52kg: T McCann v E McFaul

B4 57kg: M McGregor v H O’Donnell

B4 60kg: S McComb-Montgomery v C McLaughlin

B5 48kg: R Toner v P Clarke

B6 63kg: T Henry v E McLaughlin

B7 60kg: K McDonald v M McLaughlin

IIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOIIIIIIIIIII

TWO-TIME All-Ireland winning hurler Niall McCarthy added a boxing title to his list of sporting achievements on Sunday when he won the 86kg title at the Irish Athletic Third Level Boxing Association (IATBA) finals in Dublin.

McCarthy, a 2004 Allstar as Cork defeated Kilkenny to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup before retaining the trophy a year later, got the better of fellow Cork man Finbarr McGuire in the junior novice decider.

There were four Ulster successes at the National Stadium too, with Old School’s Gary McKenna (Ulster University) taking the lightweight title for the second year in-a-row, beating Jason Kirwan (University of Limerick)

In an all-Ulster showdown at light-welter, Rostrevor’s Matthew Murnion (Queen’s) beat Holy Family’s Niall McAlinden, while Derry’s Patrick Doherty (Sligo IT) took in the intermediate light-heavyweight title after getting the decision against GMIT’s Kristian Bunice.

In the junior novice final at 81kg, Ben Patton (Belfast Metropolitan) had too much for DCU’s Conor McGinn.

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