WITH the last punch in the last second of the last bout, Sligo’s Stephen Reynolds secured international victory for Ireland in Dublin last night.
The score in the match against the visiting Canada squad was balanced at 4-4 after a night of good and bad luck for Ireland’s Ulster contingent at the National Stadium.
But super-heavyweight Reynolds, reigning Irish champ and known as ‘The Block’ to his adoring Sligo fans, saved Ireland’s bacon with a 16-15 computer victory over Quebec’s Jean-Francois Bergeren.
Hiccups with the ringside computer led to three contests going to the old method of judges’ scorecards, with mixed results for Belfast boxers.
Twinbrook’s Irish titleholder, college student Liam Cunningham, took a majority verdict over Hamilton, Ontario flyweight Alberto Ubrina.
Urbina, at 19 the reigning Canadian champ, was, on paper, the least tested member of the Canadian team with a 16-11 formbook and succumbed to the talented Saints pupil.
Dockers’ feather Pat O’Donnell, who goes in search of a Belarus European Senior Championship spot next month, fared less favourably losing out on a split decision against another Hamilton-based fighter Zaya Younan.
Ireland’s lightest champion, 48-kilos battler James Rooney, easily defeated Domenic Filane.
Holy Family/Golden Gloves light-welter Glenn McClarnon went down 11-5 against a man he beat on tour last year, Ryan Savage.
Heading the Canadian hitlist was Commonwealth champion Mike Strange, a 27-year-old from Ontario with a track record of 219 bouts, won 183.
Irish lightweight Eugene McEneaney (Dealgan) was the man with the task of clipping the high-flying Canadian’s wings but he lost out on a creditable 9-6 score.
Bernard Dunne, and Tom Fitzgerald were Ireland’s other winners while heavyweight John Kiely lost 14-5
.THE All-Ireland final stages are merely a “bit of craic” for Ulster hurling champions Down.
Manager Frank Dawson heads for Croke Park tommorow for the Leinster Hurling showdown between Wexford and Kilkenny with not a care in the All-Ireland world for who Down meet in the quarter-final draw on Sunday.
Tipperary are in the hat with Down, Kilkenny or Wexford join with Roscommon or Galway.
Down can be drawn against Tipperary but Dawson laughed off the prospect of a quarter-final drubbing at the hands of the south’s elite.
Down returned to training last night. The county’s entire senior hurling unit met on Tuesday to discuss their performance in last weekend’s unanticipated win over holders Antrim.
The meeting brought good news to Dawson as all players confirmed their fitness from an Ulster Final in which few quarters were given.
Full-forward Jerome McCrickard, who was withdrawn in the second half with an ankle injury, trained last night.
Ballygalget star Kevin Coulter did not attend the meeting nor training but time favours his recovery rate from a bed-confining bout of ‘flu.
Dawson will act as a summariser for BBC Radio Ulster’s coverage of the Leinster Final, while taking note of the eventual losers.
“I think Wexford will be too strong and Kilkenny will be in the hat,” he said.
“During our meeting this week we had a few laughs but overall we are not happy just to win Ulster.
“Many would say we should be content with winning the Ulster title but the success has left us wanting more.
“Basically we don’t care who we draw in the quarter-final. What have we to worry about anyway it’s only a bit of craic.”