A mixture of blood and sweat resulted in a depleted DCU Amateur Boxing Club claiming two All-Ireland titles at the recent Intervarsity National Championships.
After almost two months of grueling training, relentless sparring and strict dieting, DCU’s Faolan Rahill and Stephen Mooney claimed Irish titles.
DCU Amateur Boxing Club entered the competition with a smaller squad to previous years with only eight fighters entered compared to thirteen last year.
It was a long path to glory for the DCU boxers to get to the national stadium, having begun in the preliminary qualifiers which were held in St. Michael’s boxing club in Athy.
The first winner for DCU was Faolan Rahill in the 75kg intermediate grade. After last year’s disappointing final loss in the same grade Rahill went in to his final with a point to prove. He showed tremendous concentration and long range boxing skills, repeatedly picking off his opponent.
Rahill showed the experience of last year’s defeat to overcome his opponent and claim the elusive title.
DCU’s boxing coach Terry Keegan was very pleased with Rahill’s performance and stated that the 75kg intermediate division “was one of the most competitive in the competition”.
DCU’s other winner was Stephen Mooney, in the 57kg division. Mooney showed pace and prowess to advance to the finals. In the final he displayed his fitness and proficiency in short range boxing to win. Danny McGowan also had the opportunity to claim a title but it was not to be for the 60kg fighter.
DCU had another finalist in Senan Kelly. In the final Keegan felt Kelly was “on top” but due to a hand injury sustained during the fight he had to be pulled out. Keegan was unhappy having to make the decision as it is “annoying when you have to withdraw fighters during fights” especially when they are on top.
Keegan, though not upset about the decision, felt that one of the fights “should have went our way”, but in boxing it is often a fine line between victory and defeat.
Injuries, fighters pulling out, lack of fighters and other commitments meant that it was a small DCU squad that entered the competition.
Keegan, in his interview with The College View, highlighted that DCU were missing three of their better fighters going into the competition through injury and that if things had been different more silverware could have been claimed.
DCU also had no female fighters entered in the competition. Céire Smith and Clare Grace were named as part of the five-strong Irish squad for the European championships in the summer. Due to these commitments they were unable to take part in the intervarsity competition. With both fighters being stand outs and having both won titles last year in the competition one can’t help but feel they would have contributed to the DCU medal haul.
After claiming the All Ireland championship last year DCU sadly relinquished their crown with the lack of boxers and bad luck contributing to this.
Overall, the event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talented boxers of DCU Boxing Club. Even though DCU may be disappointed overall it is a case of what might have been as injuries depleted the squad. One must remember also that DCU boxing club has come from the brink of extinction to be challenging regularly for Irish titles.