Dhúlaigh still kings of the ring
Despite being run a close by Larkin, Coláiste claim 31st Cup victory in row
VEC SCC BOXING FINALS
Louise Browne, Evening Herald Thursday 1 April 2010 SCHOOL SPORTS
In a dramatic climax, Coláiste Dhúlaigh won their 31st consecutive Crowley Cup in the annual CDVEC SCC Novice Boxing Championship at last week’s finals being held in Dublin’s National Stadium.
Trailing by a single point going into the final bout, the reigning champions knew a victory would hand them the coveted cup; defeat on the other hand, would see them share the spoils with their close rivals Larkin Community College.
As for Larkin, it was a case of sitting, watching and hoping that Andy O’Hanlon of Plunkett College, who faced Dhúlaigh’s Anto Murphy in the 86kg final, would do them a favour inside the ring.
O’Hanlon was quickly out of his corner pinning Murphy to the ropes in the early exchanges. With the Coolock student struggling to find his rhythm, O’Hanlon piled on the pressure, getting the upper hand in the first round.
O’Hanlon continued pressurising Murphy in the second yet, despite being under the cuff for long periods, Murphy’s doggedness kept him in the contest.
Heading in to the final round, supporters watched anxiously as O’Hanlon and Murphy gave it their all. The fight was a scrappy affair but what it lacked in style it made up for in the passion and commitment shown by both boxers.
When the bell rang, it seemed O’Hanlon had done enough to win the fight, but the judges thought otherwise and awarded it to Murhpy by a 2-1 majority, handing Coláiste Dhúlaigh, led by Joe Vaughan, the prestigious silverware.
Ryan Norton of Kylemore College was awarded the Arundel Cup for the best boxer on the night, to the delight of his coach Jim O’ Connell, who was “delighted for both Ryan, who has a lovely style and technique for a novice, and for Kylemore College”.
Olympic Gold medalist Michael Carruth was on hand throughout the proceedings, presenting trophies to the competitors.
“Joe Vaughan and the VEC have done great work over the last 30 years or so. There was a great crowd in there tonight, that’s as big a crowd you’d get for All Ireland championships”, said Carruth.
“The work for kids is tremendous; to get to represent your school is great, your community is even better. Some of these kids might not do anything else other than this but you hope that they don’t.”
The Olympic champion added: “The youngsters learn that boxing is a great sport, a committed sport and you have to be committed to bring it further, and they know the work that they will have to put in the next time to make themselves better.”
Dhúlaigh and Larkin were level on 17 points going into the contest but a walkover for Dhúlaigh’s Eoin Kirwan and a winning performance from Brandon Smith against Glen Keegan of Kylemore College put them ahead.
Larkin fought back with Malcolm Chasby leading the charge beating Dhúlaigh’s Daniel Duffy in a hugely entertaining contest, while Austin Lynch proved too strong for Dhúlaigh’s Thomas Gorry, with the referee stopping the fight in the second round.
Subsequent victories for Sean Gorman, Malcolm McDonnell, Darragh Keeley and Conor Lalor nudged Larkin in front.
Wins for Kylemore’s Ryan Gibbons, Ryan Foley and Norton’s unanimous decision over Larkin’s Aaron Griffin extended their third-place lead over Plunkett College and St. Joseph’s of Milltown.
Dhúlaigh and Larkin continued to do battle inside the ring with the north inner-city school holding the advantage going into the final group stage.
Back-to-back wins for Dhúlaigh’s Muhammed Bakir and Graham Hatten, with Daniel Kirwan and Gabriel Igbinvia doing likewise for the champions, cut Larkin’s lead.
Larkin responded with three wins in a row from Keith Duffy, Dean Hayden and Mark Keely. Dhúlaigh fought back with Sean Spada overpowering Ciaran Murphy of Larkin, before Murphy stepped into the ring for another historic win for the Coolock School.