Seconds Out: Dylan Eagleson hoping to soar as Irish debut at Europeans looms

Dylan Eagleson coasted to the Irish cadet title in Dublin back in March, and is aiming to make his mark on the international stage at the European junior championships in Romania later this month. Picture by Hugh Russell
Dylan Eagleson coasted to the Irish cadet title in Dublin back in March, and is aiming to make his mark on the international stage at the European junior championships in Romania later this month. Picture by Hugh Russell

HE has been tipped to appear in an Irish vest ever since some eye-catching performances with former club Abbey, and later this month Dylan Eagleson will do just that after continuing his progress with St Paul’s.

Eagleson joined up with the Belfast club two years ago, and has since added Irish cadet titles in consecutive years. However, with no 44kg weight class available at last year’s Europeans, he was unable to compete.

Now 16 and still growing, Eagleson has moved up to 46kg, winning the 2018 cadet title with some hugely impressive performances - none moreso than his final whitewash of Tramore’s Toby Ogogua.

And the icing on the cake was selection for the 25-strong Irish squad bound for the European junior championships, which take place in Galati, Romania from May 22-June 2.

“I can’t wait,” said the Bangor Academy student, whose long-term ambition is to replicate the achievement of club-mate Brendan Irvine by qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

“I always knew St Paul’s was a big club in Belfast, there’s a lot of good people there, I knew Ralph was a top class coach and that I’d always get good spars.

“Ralph’s been putting a lot of work into me and that’s improved me a lot. My head movement’s better, my shots are getting a lot cleaner, and I’m going there feeling confident.”

No sooner will the teenager have returned from Romania than he will be on his travels again, this time as part of an Ulster select headed for the prestigious Black Forest Cup in Germany.

For McKay, it is satisfying to see the strides made, and the St Paul’s coach was also quick to sing the praises of Eagleson’s dedicated mother Paula for the invaluable role she has played in her son’s boxing career to date.

“Fair play to her, she really wants the best for him.

“It was a big step to move clubs because he was only a kid and it was going to mean a bit of travelling, but maybe that change of direction has helped him.

“When he won his first Irish title, he gave the medal to his mummy for all her hard work, bringing him and up and down and waiting here for him, maybe two hours a night.

“Thankfully it’s all paid off and he’s enjoying the training, enjoying the club.”

Some of his performances in Dublin back in March were from the very top drawer, and McKay believes Eagleson can go on and achieve whatever he wants in the game, provided he is prepared to work for it.

“It’s there for him, the Olympics in 2024 or whatever he wants to do.

“Since he’s come to us he’s changed his style, he’s more like a European boxer now – long reach, long distance, in and out fast. His footwork’s improved, he’s learnt to use his footwork as he’s punching in different positions.

“Every day’s a learning day – he was sparring the other night with Brendan Irvine. He’s bouncing off everybody and everybody’s bouncing off him too.

“You can see the improvement with him. He wouldn’t have thrown many body punches before, now even in the cadets he was scoring well to the body. He’s good at swaying left and right, timing his shots from different positions, his head’s moving all the time.

“We just want him boxing to his full potential and we feel he’s doing that now. In the cadets he was scoring 10-8 rounds.

“I’d say Dylan’s got a great chance of medalling at the Europeans, then there’s the Black Forest Cup and the Monkstown Box Cup wrapping up the season, so he has a busy couple of months coming up.

“He’s ready for it though.”


The Antrim Boy 4-7 Championships get under way at Corpus Christi boxing club tonight, with the action taking place across the next three nights.

Thirteen semi-finals take place tonight, with the first bout scheduled for 8pm.

B4 46kg: C McCrory (Townland) v C Darragh (St Paul’s); B4 50kg: C Browne (Oliver Plunkett) v J O’Neill (Ardoyne); B4 50kg: M McCavana (Antrim) v L McMahon (Spartans); B4 57kg: R Gianni (Cairn Lodge) v D O’Hara (St John Bosco); B5 42kg: D Bradley (Holy Trinity) v B Collins (East Down); B5 54kg: P Devine (Oliver Plunkett) v C Magill (Glengormley); B5 60kg: D Waugh (Rathfriland) v L Moore-Glass (North Down); B5 63kg: E Smith (St Monica’s) v A Douglas (Townland); B5 70kg: E O’Toole (East Down) v K Quinn (St Paul’s); B6 57kg: M O’Doherty (Clonard) v C Clarke (Midland); B6 57kg: T Orr (Lisburn) v B Marshall (Emerald); B7 60kg: J McGivern (St George’s) v B Morgan (Ardoyne); v B7 60kg: L Sloan (Rathfriland) v I Greer (Monkstown)

Finals (tomorrow – more on Thursday depending on the outcome of tonight’s fights)

B4 44kg: J Watson (Saints) v M Doherty (Holy Trinity); B4 52kg: E Loughran (Holy Family) v D Keary (Rathfriland); B4 54kg: T Hanna (Townland) v G Sloan (Antrim); B4 63kg: J McGuinness (St Monica’s) v J Diver (St John Bosco); B4 70kg: J Walker (Lisburn) v C Neill (Ballysillan); B5 48kg: M McLintock (Holy Trinity) v D Farrelly (St John Bosco); B5 57kg: B Reilly (Saints) v J O’Donnell (St George’s); B6 50kg: P Gordon (East Down) v P McCleary (Holy Trinity); B6 75kg: F Duffin (Monkstown) v D Oscar (St Michael’s); B7 64kg: K McKillen (Scorpion) v J McArdle (Ardoyne)


THE National Girl 1 to 6 Championship quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals take place at the National Stadium in Dublin this weekend.

Friday (6pm start)

Girl 1 semi-finals

47kg: C Jordan (Muskerry) v L King (Connemara)

57kg: J Flannery (Ballinrobe) v M McDonagh (Tralee)

Girl 2 semi-final

57kg: L Abbott (St Brigid’s, Edenderry) v E Burke (Tralee)

Girl 4 quarter-finals

51kg: C Gibbons (St Bronagh’s) v S Donoghue (St Ailbhe’s); S McGuire (Tobar Pheadair) v L Glynn (Cloghan)

Girl 4 & 6 semi-finals

49kg: H Connolly (Ballaghderreen) v P Dillon (Clomel); 53kg: K Robinson (Saviours Crystal) v S O’Sullivan (Mulhuddart); 55kg: A Savanian (South East) v D Hannafin (Neilstown); 59kg: S Blood (Doolin) v J Smith (Enniskerry); 66kg: L Moran (St Annes) v M Bennett (Swords); 57kg: L Dempsey (Ryston) v EM Gartland (Clonmel); 60kg: K O’Gorman (Spartan M) v Sinainn Glynn (Cloghan); 60kg: J Guy (Glin) v C Horgan (Ryston)

Girl 5 semi-finals

48kg: A Williamson (Curragh) v L Kearney (Bunclody); 50kg: K Heffernon (Geesala) v R Mahoney (Callan); 57kg: S Roche (Legacy) v L McDonagh (Geesala); 63kg: R Hennessy (Togher) v R McGlinchey (Letterkenny); 66kg: B Roche (Donore) v M McSwine (Oakleaf), G Walsh (Raging Bull) v K Keaveney (Ardagh/Crossmolina); 70kg A Sutton (Drimnagh) v E Maguire (Kilfenora), O McCauley (Enniscorthy) v D Gulli (Bracken)

Saturday (10am start)

Girl 2 semi-finals

49kg: N Mongan (Corpus Christi) v L Lafferty (Twintowns)

Girl 4 semi-finals

53kg: M Murray (Oakleaf) v O’Keeffe (Kanturk), R Murran (St Brigid’s, Kildare) v TBC; 76kg: H Brosnan (Shadows) v A Elbharaoui (Crumlin), A Murphy (Raging Bull) v M McAndrew (Geesala)

Girl 5 semi-final

48kg: S Tantas (Bracken) v D Parke (Antrim)

Girl 6 semi-finals

48kg: S Morrissey (Golden Gloves) v J Rodin (Portlaoise); 52kg: K Gates (Marble City) v N Clyde (Antrim), L Shields (Portlaoise) v F O’Keeffe (Rathkeale); 54kg: M Lehane (Rylane) v K Doyle (Neilstown); 57kg: N Fay (Swords) v M Simmons (Carndonagh); 60kg: K Attewell (Tobar Pheadair) v T Maguire (Immaculata); 63kg: E McGrath (Ederney) v L Murphy (Togher); 63kg: E Woods (Corinthians) v K Rock (Four Kings); 66kg M Enright (Setanta) v L Desmond (Rylane)


STEPHEN Connolly and Anna Moore have been selected as the Irish representatives on the European Boxing Confederation referees and judges and women’s commissions.

Stephen Connolly, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) national registrar, and Anna Moore, Munster Council treasurer and Munster representative to the IABA central council, have been notified of their appointments.

Connolly will serve on the male R&J commission and Moore on the women’s commission.

Dominic O’Rourke, president of the IABA, congratulated both on their appointments, saying: “The best wishes and congratulations of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association to Anna and Stephen, fantastic achievements.

“Both are long serving servants of Irish and international boxing and they will bring a lot of experience to their roles with the European body.”