Holy Trinity prospect Jon McConnell coming home with bronze after super show in Russia

Jon McConnell, pictured with Irish coach Liam Cunningham, bowed out of the European Junior Championships yesterday
Jon McConnell, pictured with Irish coach Liam Cunningham, bowed out of the European Junior Championships yesterday

IT’S been a journey he will never forget, but unfortunately for Jon McConnell his European odyssey came to a disappointing end yesterday as he bowed out on a split decision.

The Holy Trinity fighter can hold his head high as he returns home from his first major international competition with a bronze medal around his neck. However, he could so easily be preparing for a flyweight final against tough Bulgarian Yasen Redev.

McConnell looked to have done enough to take at least two of the three rounds against Serbian Semiz Alicic, but came out on the wrong side of the decision as a brilliant campaign came to an end.

The Crumlin teenager got up and running with victory over Latvia’s Matvejs Prokudins in the last 32 last Wednesday, and shot to prominence when he edged out Russia’s two-time European schoolboy champion Evegeni Zhorov at the last 16 stage.

Despite that gruelling encounter McConnell proved too strong for England’s Billy Adams in Saturday’s quarter-final, and went into the last four hopeful of making it into tomorrow’s decider.

He started strongly in Anapa yesterday, catching Alicic with a beautiful left-right combination inside the opening 10 seconds.

The Serbian settled into the round and was countering effectively but the taller McConnell came on strong again, using his height well and landing another eye-catching straight right in the middle of the first.

The second was a clear McConnell round as he controlled the pace from the centre of the ring and came off strongest from any exchanges in close.

Perhaps knowing he needed a strong finish, Alicic went on the front foot in the third but had his head rocked back courtesy of a long McConnell right hand early on.

Both tired towards the end of the round, and the Holy Trinity man looked to have done enough to get the nod. McConnell clearly thought so too, his disappointment evident when the Serbian’s arm was surprisingly raised.

It wasn’t to be for Donegal’s Leah Gallen either, as she also lost out on a split decision to Italy’s Miriam Tomasone in her 66 kilo semi-final.

Ellie Mai-Gartland and Sinainn Glynn, meanwhile, upgraded their guaranteed bronze medals to at least silver. The Tipperary and Offaly duo beat England’s Sameenah Toussan and Danielle Marshall on unanimous decisions en route to today’s bantam and light finals.

Mai-Gartland consistently cut down the distance between herself and the rangy Toussan to deliver shots off both hands in all three rounds en route to a place in the 54kg decider.

Glynn was giving away a lot of height to the towering Marshall, but the Irish lightweight wasn’t giving anything away on the scorecards against the English champion with the Ireland titlist winning unanimously after a power-packed performance.

Michael Donohoe, Breda Quilligan, Kaitlin Doyle and Kori Goad had to settle for bronze in yesterday’s afternoon session.


SLIGO flyweight Dean Clancy will box for a place in the Youth Olympics final today against Great Britain’s Ivan Price.

The pair have already met this year, with Price coming on top in their European Youth final, and the Leeds teenager has since gone on to win World Youth silver.

Price lost out to American Asa Stevens in the final, the man who had defeated Clancy on the way to the final.

However, the Ballinacarrow brawler will fancy his chances of turning the tables this time around, buoyed by an impressive opening performance in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

Clancy defeated African champion Hichem Maouche of Algeria in a tough quarter-final bout and comes into today’s contest full of confidence.

Should Clancy win against Price, he is guaranteed a silver and will box for gold in the final.

However, if he loses the Sligo teenager will enter into a box-off with the other losing semi finalist for the one bronze medal on offer as the Youth Olympics differs from all other major international competitions which reward both losing semi-finalists with bronze.

The other semi-final pits Thailand’s Asian champ Sukthet Sarawut against Brazilian Pan-American Youth gold and World Youth bronze medallist Luiz Olivera.

Meanwhile, in the early hours of yesterday morning, Dearbhla Rooney joined Clancy in the semi-finals, beating America’s Linda Martinez on a unanimous decision.

“I was happy with how I fought,” she said, “the first fight is always tough.”

She faces Panpatchara Somnuek of Thailand in the last four today.

Galway talent Gabriel Dossen took the middleweight crown at the Eindhoven Cup
Galway talent Gabriel Dossen took the middleweight crown at the Eindhoven Cup


There were some top class bouts in Saturday’s showdown between County Antrim and a County Derry select at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast.

The County Antrim team just edged to a 6-5 victory, with wins for Danny Magill (Glengormley), Louis Rooney (Star), Conor McCrory (Townland), Damien McGuigan (Clonard), Martin McCullough (Gleann) and Jojo McArdle (Ligoniel).

Derry’s wins came courtesy of Adam McIvor (Oakleaf), Deaglan McNamee (St John’s), Sean Devenney (Oakleaf), Ben Cooke (St John’s) and Tiernan Glennon (St Joseph’s).

Also on the bill, Loughshore’s Bernie Stokes picked up a split decision win over Bailey Grimes, while there were victories for Jojo McArdle (Ligoniel) and Jamie Patton (Tullycarnet) against Shane Stokes and Danny O’Sullivan respectively.


GABRIEL Dossen backed up his burgeoning reputation with a gold medal performance at the Eindhoven Cup on Sunday.

The highly-rated 19-year-old, who is set to compete with the likes of Michael Nevin, Camlough’s Fearghus Quinn and Derry’s Brett McGinty in an intriguing middleweight division at February’s Irish Elite Championships, was in impressive form in the Netherlands all week.

Dossen, who boxes out of the Olympic club in Galway, topped the podium after defeating Max van der Par.

The Dutch number one, a former Chemistry Cup champion, asked some serious questions of the World and European Youth bronze medallist but Dossen still took a 3-2 split decision.

Earlier in the competition he had beaten 2008 Olympian Herry Saliko Biembe and English international Ramtin Musah on unanimous verdicts, and it came as no surprise when he was named Best Boxer at the Eindhoven Cup.

“Gabriel pulled out all the stops again today with a near perfect performance, said Irish and Olympic coach Mike Mongan.

“Gabriel commanded the lead from round one, making use of his jab and speed, From there he took off really... three exceptional performances from Gabriel all weekend.”

There were two more gold medals for Ireland in Eindhoven too, with Michael Avestian (Swords) taking a 4-1 split decision over Monaco’s Hugo Micallef in the light-welter decider.

Like Dossen, heavyweight Tony Browne also defeated an Olympian en route to the title. Browne (St Michael’s) beat Peter Mullenberg – who competed at London 2012 - on a 3-2 split after a war in Saturday’s semi-final, becoming the first man to defeat Mullenberg in the Netherlands.

Sunday’s final was a more straightforward affair as he took a unanimous decision win over Coupé Seyi. Browne is also building towards February’s Irish elites, where the likes of Emerald’s Damien Sullivan will be among those chasing the 91 kilo crown.

Elsewhere, Belfast’s 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Alanna Nihell just missed out on a place in the 64kg final after dropping a split decision to Chelsey Heijnen.