Colm Murphy and Jude Gallagher can serve up classic on opening night of Ulster Elites
THE stage is set for a huge featherweight showdown at the Devenish Complex tomorrow night, after last year's beaten finalist Colm Murphy was drawn against reigning Irish flyweight champion Jude Gallagher.
Liverpool-based Murphy, who boxes out of the St George's club, was in Scotland over the weekend on an Ulster High Performance training camp, and returns to Belfast for a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with the Tyrone teenager.
In his first year at elite level, former World and European youth bronze medallist Gallagher stormed to the Irish 52 kilo title at the National Stadium last November, seeing off fellow flyweight hopefuls Adam Hession and Regan Buckley along the way.
Those performances looked to have put him right in the mix for a crack at next month's European Olympic qualifier in London, especially with Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine only returning to action after a long lay-off.
However, struggles with the weight eventually saw Gallagher forced out of the reckoning at flyweight, and tomorrow night will mark his featherweight bow in what promises to be an all-action firecracker.
The winner will meet Emerald's Kane Marshall in Thursday's semi-final, with defending champion JP Hale and Monkstown's Conor Kerr facing off in the other last four contest.
Also taking place tomorrow night are the two light-welterweight quarter-finals, with Jack McGivern (St George's) and Ben Ferran (Clonard) fighting for the right to face Errigal's Dominic Bradley in the semi-final.
Darryl Clarke (Monkstown) and Rory Lavery (Holy Family) are on the other side of the 63kg draw, with Emerald's Caoimhin Ferguson awaiting the winner.
Of the semi-finals, the welterweight pairing of Holy Trinity's Edgar Vuskans and Mullaghbawn native Eugene McKeever (Holy Family, Drogheda) looks tasty, while the light-flyweight meeting of Diarmuid Toland (Holy Family, Belfast) and Ricky Nesbitt (Holy Family, Drogheda) promises to be explosive.
All the finals take place in the Ulster Hall on Tuesday, February 25, including the renewal of the 51 kilo rivalry between Carly McNaul and Immaculata's Caitlin Fryers.
ULSTER ELITE CHAMPIONSHIPS
57kg: J Gallagher (Two Castles) v C Murphy (St George's)
63kg: Jack McGivern (St George's) v B Ferran (Clonard)
63kg: D Clarke (Monkstown) v R Lavery (Holy Family)
49kg: D Toland (Holy Family, Belfast) v R Nesbitt (Holy Family, Drogheda)
52kg: J O'Neill (Corpus Christi) WO
57kg: K Marshall (Emerald) v J Gallagher (Two Castles)/C Murphy (St George's)
57kg: JP Hale (Star) v C Kerr (Monkstown)
60kg: L McKee (Star) v R Lavery (Holy Family, Belfast)
60kg: M Kambule (Holy Trinity) v T Alin (Cookstown)
63kg: D Bradley (Errigal) v Jack McGivern (St George's)/B Ferran (Clonard)
63kg: C Ferguson (Emerald) v D Clarke (Monkstown)/R Lavery (Holy Family)
69kg: E McKeever (Holy Family, Drogheda) v E Vuskans (Holy Trinity)
69kg: T Duffy (Clonard) M McCole (Illies GG)
91kg: T Maughan (Cavan) v K Dlugosz (Immaculata)
91kg: S McMullan (Newington) v M Erpelding (Holy Family, Belfast)
91+kg: W Close (BABA) v D Boriskins (Sacred Heart, Newry)
91+kg: F Carrothers (Gleann) v P Rogers (St John's, Derry)
49kg: C Biggar (Cookstown) v D Toland (Holy Family, Belfast)/R Nesbitt (Holy Family, Drogheda)
W51kg: C McNaul (Holy Family) v C Fryers (Immaculata)
W54kg: C McComiskey (Gilford) v S McKenna (Holy Family)
75kg: J Tucker (Emerald) v G French (Emerald)
81kg: G McDowell (Eastside) v K Tucker (Emerald)