Christina Desmond of Ireland, right, in action against Ani Hovsepyan of Armenia in their light middleweight 70kg final during the EUBC Women’s European Boxing Championships 2022 in Montenegro. Photos: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Irish women hit gold

The Irish women’s boxing team have returned home after a record breaking haul at the Women’s European Championship finals in Budva, Montenegro.

Team Ireland won three gold medals, two silvers and two bronze medals - with seven medals representing an unprecedented total, making it Ireland's most successful international tournament ever. They were the first placed team at the tournament.

Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst and Aoife O'Rourke all took gold on Saturday on a brilliant day for Irish boxing that also saw Caitlin Fryers and Cork’s Christina Desmond pick up silver medals.

Dubliner Kellie Harrington claimed lightweight gold after a 5-0 final win over Lenka Bernardova while Dundalk southpaw Amy Broadhurst beat Ukraine's Mariia Bova in the light-welterweight final. Then Aoife O'Rourke became the third Irish gold medalist after victory over Elzbieta Wojcik of Poland.

Armenia's Ani Hovsepyan beat Cork woman Christina Desmond’s with a 4-1 win in their light middleweight semi-final.

Desmond was a bit unfortunate to lose a tight bout and came back after a good start by Hovsepan. By the end of it, the Armenian was ahead by4-1 on the scorecards.

The Irish team had previously claimed a total of 12 medals - 7 gold and 5 bronze - between 2001 and 2019.

Team Ireland Head Coach Zauri Antia said: “What a team! To bring home seven medals, with five boxers in the finals – incredible! The boxers’ preparations for this competition have been excellent. They included a sparring camp with Team GB in our high performance base at the Institute of Sport, and a 12 day training camp hosted by Turkey.

“Every member of the team has performed extremely well throughout the tournament and gained very important experience. I would like to thank each boxer, and their club coaches, for their incredible commitment – also the team here in Budva of John Conlan, Dmitrij Dmitruk, Eoin Pluck and physio Rob Tuomey. Boxing is an individual sport, but the success of each boxer is a team effort.”