Boxing

Seconds Out: Colm Murphy would relish another JP Hale showdown at Ulster Elites

JP Hale (right) and Colm Murphy produced the fight of the night at the Ulster Hall in last year's Ulster Elite Championships. Picture by Mark Marlow
Neil Loughran

IT was the fight that lit up the Ulster Hall last February, and Colm Murphy admits he would relish another showdown against good friend and ring rival JP Hale at the forthcoming Ulster Elite Championships.

The pair, both teenagers at the time, produced three rounds of non-stop action, with Murphy picking himself up off the canvas in the first round to force his way back into the fight.

Star puncher Hale had his hand raised in the end, but Murphy gained revenge less than a week later when he won their Irish U22 clash at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Hale will be out to defend his title, starting at the Devenish next week, and Murphy admits it would be “a pleasure” to renew their rivalry.

“I’d be up for anything, but you have to be prepared,” the 20-year-old St George’s ace.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, there’ll be other good fighters entered too but, coming back to Belfast, it would be great. We stole the show last year, why not the same this year?

“We were in Barcelona together in September, we both got gold and had great craic. It would be a pleasure to share a ring with him again.

“It boosted us both forward so much, two fights in two weeks, and still to this day people come up to me and say ‘that was some fight’. It was a highlight of the year.”

Both will be in Scotland this weekend for an Ulster High Performance training camp ahead of the elites. Between boxing and a quantity surveying degree at John Moore’s university in Liverpool, Murphy admits it is a challenge to continue spinning so many plates.

He warmed up for the Ulsters with an impressive performance at the British University Championships, claiming the 60kg title, and plans to enter the ABA Championships in April at 56kg.

“It is hard; I was training like mad when I was at school too, when you’re in 9-5, Monday to Friday. Over here I’m only in two and a half days, which does help, but you still have to go to the library and keep up with coursework.

“It’s come more at a cost to my social life more than anything. People are always saying about going to Liverpool, party town, but it’s no party life for me – it’s a training camp over here.

“The first year I really struggled with diet, I’m still growing, but I’m not going out spending money so I just invest what money I have into clean eating.

“It was my birthday and couple of weeks ago there but I haven’t really been able to celebrate. Once the Ulsters are over though, there’ll be a Colin the Caterpillar cake with my name on it - my mum’s going to sort me out with that.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Murphy is hoping to force himself into the frame for selection for the next Commonwealth Games in 2022.

With current 57 kilo king Kurt Walker expected to turn over to the paid ranks after this summer, it could open the door for the emerging talent at the weight to push for his spot.

And Murphy intends to be right there in the mix.

“I’m in the running for the Commonwealths; that would be a dream come true,” he said.

“The work for that starts now, entering all these championships, getting ready and making sure I stay on top of the game.”

ULSTER PRELIMINARIES AND SEMI-FINALS AT DEVENISH

THE preliminary rounds and semi-finals of the Ulster Elite Championships will take place in the Devenish Complex this year, with finals night at the Ulster Hall on Tuesday, February 25.

As a result of the earlier stages being held in the Devenish, under 18s will now be free to attend. The weigh-ins take place in the Devenish on Sunday from 9am-10am, with the draw made straight after.

The preliminary rounds and semi-finals will be held over three nights, from Tuesday, February 18 until Thursday, February 25, with the action starting at 8pm. Entry is £10, £5 for children and concessions.

Tickets are now available to purchase for finals night too, priced at £25 and £10 for children and concession (limited number of concession tickets available). They will be available to purchase at any of the preliminary nights in the Devenish as well as from Charlie Brown’s shop in Smithfield market and the Fairdeal shop in Andersonstown.

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Clonard ABC celebrate coming away with 20 medals – 17 golds and three silvers – from the recent Armagh and Down Championships, which were held at Silverbridge Boxing Club. Picture by Mark Marlow

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LEFT HOOKS

There was a full house at Oakleaf Boxing Club on Sunday for the County Derry Championships.

Eight-five boxers entered, with 28 competitive contests taking place in Oakleaf – the finals will be held in Swatragh and Coleraine on February 21 and 22.

Oakleaf took the best club crown on the day, while Raymond Lagan from St John’s, Swatragh was named best boxer.

“The standard was very high, especially the Boy 1 category,” said County Derry Board chairman Eugene Duffy.

“It was great to see such a big turnout to watch the next generation of emerging boxers from Derry showing what they can do. I’d like to thanks and club and boxers for coming.”

Meanwhile, a 20-strong County Derry Board select with take on a combined team from Carlow, Kilkenny and Laois in Kilkenny on Sunday, with the annual renewal against the Donegal board taking place after Easter.

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ALMOST 70 bouts will be decided on the second weekend of the National Senior Cadet Championships at the National Stadium.

The tournament resumes on Friday evening and continues on Saturday. Weigh-ins from 8am-9am and 12pm-1pm at the stadium.

Friday (6.30pm)

Second round preliminaries

52kg: A Tyrell (Ratoath) v D Keary (Rathfriland); 54kg: S Brennan (Muskerry) v B Gilroy (Fr Flanagan’s); 54kg: C Reynolds (Corinthians) v J Kavanagh ( St Patrick’s, Kilkenny); 63kg: O Burke (Celtic Eagles) v E Gillen (Clonard, L)

Quarter-finals

39kg: A Ruth (Avona) v J McCann (Whitechurch); 42kg: T Dinnegan (Rochfordbridge) v L Gallagher (Ratoath); 42kg: J Lynch (Illies GG ) v G Delaney (Bunclody); 42kg: L Hill (Tullylish) v C Ruth (Cabra); 42kg: P Cleary (Olympic, Galway) v P Fitzgerald (Corinthians); 44kg: S Byrne (St Teresa’s) v M Collins (Drimnagh); 44kg: O Cleary (Olympic, Galway) v D Smithers (Swords); 44kg: C Hall (Dunfanghy) v O Worsencroft (St Colman’s); 44kg: S Murray Lynch (Avona) v M Nugent (Olympic, Mullingar); 46kg: T O’Reilly (Corpus Christi) v G Ryan (Ratoath); 46kg: A Fegan (Jobstown) v M Davis (Monkstown, D); 46kg: K McKay (Swords) v M Delaney (Olympic, Galway); 46kg: D Magill (Glengormley) v K Moran (Saviours Crystal); 48kg: C Crichton (Rochfordbridge) v C Doyle (Templemore); 48kg: S Gaffney (Bantry) v H Matthews (Mulhuddart); 48kg: T O’Reilly (Saviours Cryastal) v C Doherty (Two Castles); 48kg: M Doherty (Holy Trinity) v A Genocky (Docklands); 50kg: B Comiskey (Gilford) v J Clooney (Palmerstown); 50kg: L Reilly (Jobstown) v J Watson (Saints); 50kg: P Noonan (Charleville) v T Duffin (Wexford CBS); 50kg: L Connors (St Munchin’s) v J Donoghue (St Michael’s, Athy)

Saturday (11am)

Quarter-finals

W48kg: K O’Keefe (Kanturk) v A Gibbons (Cherry Orchard); W50kg: G McGovern (Drimnagh) v B Collins (Dunree); W50kg: R Kelly (Ballynacargy) v L Glynn (Cloghan); W52kg: H Connolly (Ballaghaderreen) v S Sullivan (Mulhuddart); 52kg: B Fitzgerald (Corinthians) v K Doran (St Mary’s, D); 52kg: D Mooney (Clann Naofa) v Jack Dempsey (Wexford CBS); 52kg: D Murphy (Fr Flanagan’s) v Michael Faulkner (Togher); 52kg: M McInerney (Cloghan) v winner; W54kg: N Fasciszewska (Aglish) v C O’Connor (Kilfenora); W54kg: L O’Keeffe (Kanturk) v C Gleeson (St Francis’s); W54kg: A Attewell (Tobar Pheadair) v S Donoghue (Templemore); W54kg: R Collins (Ratoath) v R Murran (St Brigid’s, L); 54kg: L Hall (Rochfordbridge) v B McDonagh (Dunfanaghy); 54kg: R Joyce (Clonmel) v D Fitzpatrick (Saints); 54kg: J O’Reilly (Togher) v J O’Loughlin (Olympic, Galway); 54kg: Winner v winner; W57kg: A Ustilaite (Tipperary Town) v J Smith (Enniskerry); W57kg: D Hannefin (Neilstown) v E Hanlon (Glin); 57kg: J Nevin (Olympic, Mullingar) v B Moran (St Paul’s, Waterford); 57kg: N Hatton (Donore) v C O’Donovan (Clonmel); 57kg: J Ross O’Donnell (Corpus Christi) v J Pielesz (Midleton); 57kg: E Donnelly (Midleton) v T McDonnell (Bay City); 60kg: L McEvoy (Avona) v A Hertag (Bay City); 60kg: J Murphy (St Ibar’s/Joseph’s) v J Donovan (Monkstown, D); 60kg: D Blaney (Navan) v A Touhey (Lucan); 60kg: E O’Donnell (East Down) v M Carmody (Corpus Christi); 63kg: T Norman (Cherry Orchard) v B Flood (Cabra); 63kg: C Bergin (Castlerea) v Michael Lambe (Setanta); 63kg: C Joyce (Ballymun) v T McDonagh (Crumlin); 63kg: C McDonagh(Cookstown) v winner; 66kg: J Ward (St Brigid’s, L) v J Joyce (Cloghan); 66kg: C Heraty (St Anne’s) v M McCarthy (Urlingford); 66kg: D O’Brien (Leeside Lough) v D McDonagh (Galway); 66kg: J Fay (Swords) v S Auzelis (Ballaghaderren); W70kg: K Lane (Ballybrack) W/O; 70kg: C Darcy (Templemore) v J Olaniyan (Jobstown); 70kg: T Ward (Gateway) v J Mongans (OLOL); 70kg: B McHugh (Monivea) v S Brennan (Docklands); 70kg: J McGuinness (St Monica’s) v M Keenan (Leeside Lough); 75kg: W Joyce (St Anthony’s, Dublin) v T Meade (Hyland BA); 75kg: J Kelleher (Corpus Christi) v F Behan (Kilcullen); 80+kg: D Ward (Esker) v D Sweeney (Sligo City); 80+kg: N Ojo (Esker) v B Cawley (St David’s)

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