GAA Football

Caoimhin Hynes back with a bang as he returns to ring after stabbing nightmare

Caoimhin Hynes marked his return to the ring with a successful tournament in Barcelona, while Ormeau Road's Carly McNaul also came up trumps
Neil Loughran

TWO fights, two wins – following five months out of the ring after being stabbed in Belfast city centre, Caoimhin Hynes is a happy man.

The 20-year-old made his long-awaited return to the ring at the weekend as he steps up his preparations for November’s Ulster Elites, picking up where he left off at the Montana Belts tournament in Paris last April with two wins in Barcelona.

Hynes was the top middleweight at Il Torneo Internacional De La Amistad multi-nations tournament, and admits he was delighted to move on from his stabbing nightmare and get back to boxing.

“I’m just glad to get back and get two good wins under my belt,” said the Holy Trinity banger, part of a County Antrim select.

“I felt okay. I wasn’t at my best like I was in Paris, my timing was a wee bit off early on, but as the fights went on I picked that up.

“Being out of the ring for five months, you’re going to be a bit sluggish and lacking a bit of sharpness, but I felt I put in two good performances. The final was an all-out brawl so that will bring me on.

“It’s a relief to be back doing what I do best, so I’m happy.”

Hynes took a couple of shots on the left cheek where he had surgery following the May 1 attack, but was pleasantly surprised when they had little effect.

He added: “I felt it in the final a couple of times but it didn’t bother me.

“I had a lot of Vaseline on, but I wasn’t even thinking about it to be honest. It’s still tender so that’s to be expected.”

The middleweight hopeful now turns his attention to the Ulster Elites, with qualification for next April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia top of his wishlist.

Also in the shake-up at 75 kilograms are the likes of 2015 Ulster champion Fearghus Quinn and Conor Doherty, with Oak Leaf’s Brett McGinty expected to move up from welterweight.

Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly, who was on the verge of a move to the professional ranks during the summer only for it to fall through at the last minute, could also enter.

If he did make it to the Gold Coast, Donnelly would become the first Irish fighter to qualify for the Commonwealths at three different weights, having travelled to India as a light-welter in 2010 before winning 69kg bronze four years later.

Hynes wasn’t the only success story in Spain at the weekend, with Ormeau Road pocket rocket Carly McNaul and Saints 64kg fighter Nathan Watson also finishing top of the podium.

On Saturday, McNaul gave her first opponent two standing eight counts before forcing a third round stoppage, then won the final on points the following day.

The County Antrim team all gained valuable experience as they were tested by some of Europe’s top talents. Just missing out on the medals, Conor Quinn (52kg), Eamon McNally (56kg), Seamus Og Deeds (60kg), Aidan Walsh (69kg) and Chloe Fleck (49kg) were supported by a coaching team of Tony Leonard and team manager Harry Cunningham, plus referee Malachy Scott.

Elsewhere, flying the Irish flag out in the American fight city of Detroit, St Paul’s flyweight Gerard Matthews beat Poland’s Adrian Kowal as part of the ‘Bridges Beyond Boxing’ initiative.

Newry light-heavyweight Conor Wallace’s opponent pulled out at the last minute, but he is scheduled to fight in Cincinnati tomorrow night.

Current Ulster president Paul McMahon insists he has no reason to contest a second provincial election

ULSTER COUNCIL PRESIDENT DEFIANT AS LATEST ELECTION RESULTS LOOM

“I’M not going anywhere” – that’s the defiant message from current Ulster Council president Paul McMahon as the saga surrounding last month’s provincial elections continues to rumble on.

McMahon and secretary Sadie Duffy were both returned for another term at the Ulster congress on August 13 but, at a meeting of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s board of directors, that election was declared null and void.

The main issue surrounded affiliation dates, as over 25 clubs were unable to vote having failed to submit their forms by the end of May, with IABA president Pat Ryan and chief executive Fergal Carruth muddying the waters further by sending out conflicting messages in the weeks before.

It appears that the ongoing situation in Ulster has become an extension of the split at the very top of the organisation charged with running boxing in Ireland.

As a result, the IABA board of directors ordered that another election was run, and the votes of all clubs within Ulster were to be cast by last Friday.

The results will be announced at Bellini’s in Newry this Saturday, with Kevin Duffy and Charlie Toland again contesting the posts of president and secretary respectively.

But McMahon insists he hasn’t been approached about a new election and, as far as he is concerned, the matter has already been resolved.

He said: “I’m the Ulster president. I believe I was duly elected on the 13th of August at the Silverbirches Hotel, I was declared the president, Sadie was declared the secretary and the new members of the council were also returned.

“If anybody believes we have done anything wrong or broken any rules, tell us what they are and we’ll address that whatever way we need to address it.

“I’m the president, I was elected the president, I’m not going anywhere. I haven’t been asked whether I’m standing again in the new election, nobody has contacted me.

“It’s very disappointing and you really have to call into question the board of directors and the CEO.”

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