see the 2006 Ulster Senior reports


Melbourne 2006 boxing schedule and results



Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 09:41 GMT - from the BBC
Lindberg set for Melbourne flight

Immaculata youngster Ryan Lindberg won the best boxer award at the Ulster Amateur Boxing Finals on Thursday night at the Ulster Hall.


Lindberg looks certain for a place at the Commonwealth Games after beating Irish champion Carl Frampton 21-15 in the flyweight final.

Noel Monteith's hopes of boxing in his third games seem over after his 13-12 lightweight defeat by Kevin Doherty.

Other winners included Eamon O'Kane, Thomas Hamill and Shaun McKim.

Eleven titles were up for grabs at the Ulster Amateur Championships bill but only seven will be named on the Northern Ireland team for the Games in Melbourne.

McKim beat Oliver Plunkett teenager Eamonn Finnegan 26-11 to retain his bantamweight title.

Dungiven man Eamon O'Kane had to produce his best to beat Eamon Corbett 15-12 in an absorbing middleweight final.

O'Kane looks likely to earn one of the Commonwealth slots and should be joined in Melbourne by Thomas Hamill who outclassed Thomas Duddy 28-8.

Immaculata's Ciaran Crossan, despite only emerging from the intermediate ranks this year, looks also well-placed to compete in Australia after beating Holy Family's Damien Carroll 26-7.

Holy Trinity's Conall Carmichael will also had hope to get the nod for the Commonwealths after his 14-4 win over Newcastle's Kalum King in the Super heavyweight final.

Barry McCafferty beat Benny Hargan 24-10 in the featherweight decider the two stoppages of the night were provided by Cavan's David Nevin and Sligo man Alan Reynolds.

Nevin stopped Michael Trinity's Michael McLaughlin in the third round of their light welterweight final while Reynolds, competing for the Dockers club, needed only four rounds before his contest with Martin Mallon was halted.

The selection committee is to meet on Friday to decide the Commonwealth Games travelling party.

Brian Gillen (Holy Trinity) and All Saints' Dermott Hamill are hoping to get box-offs as they aren't in finals.

If the pair get their wish, they will fight the Ulster winners, probably before Christmas.


Ulster Amateur Boxing Finals

Light fly: Patrick Barnes (Holy Family) walkover
Fly: Carl Frampton (Midland/White City) lost to Ryan Lindberg (Immaculata) 21-15
Bantam: Shaun McKim (Abbey) beat Eamon Finnegan (Oliver Plunkett) 26-11
Feather: Barry McCafferty (St John Bosco, Belfast) beat Benny Harkin (Twintowns) 24-10
Lightweight: Kevin Doherty (Ring) beat Noel Monteith (Dockers) 13-12
Light welter: Michael McLaughlin (Holy Trinity) lost to David Nevin (Cavan) RSF round three
Welter: Thomas Duddy (Ring) lost to Thomas J Hamill (All Saints, Ballymena) 28-8
Middle: Eamon O'Kane (St Canice's Dungiven) bt Eamon Corbett (Sacred Heart, Belfast) 15-12
Light heavy: Ciaran Crossan (Immaculata) 26-7 Damien Carroll (Holy Family)

Heavy: Alan Reynolds (Dockers) beat Martin Mallon (Sacred Heart, Newry) RSC4
Super heavy: Conall Carmichael (Holy Trinity) beat Kalum King (Newcastle) 14-4.



Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 08:55 GMT - from the BBC

Seven boxers ratified for Games

Ulster Amateur Middleweight champion Eamon O'Kane

Eamon O'Kane will compete in the Commonwealth Games

The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council has ratified the seven boxers who last week were nominated for the Games in Melbourne.


Ryan Lindberg, Ballymena cousins Dermot and Thomas Hamill, Patrick Barnes, Shaun McKim, Eamonn O'Kane and Ciaran Crossan will participate in Australia.

The NI selections for the games was dogged by controversy with a number of high-profile fighters missing out.

These included Brian Gillen, Kevin Doherty and Cathal McMonagle.

With a decision on the candidates required immediately by the Commonwealth Games Council, the Ulster IABA had to abandon any idea of box-offs.

That meant that Welsh-based Gillen's hopes of meeting new bantamweight champion Shaun McKim was turned down.


The selected fighters are:
light-flyweight: Patrick Barnes (Holy Family)
flyweight: Ryan Lindberg (Immaculata)
bantamweight: Shaun McKim (Abbey, Bangor)
light-welterweight: Dermot Hamill (Ballymena All Saints)
welterweight: Thomas Hamill (Ballymena All Saints)
middleweight: Eamonn O'Kane (Dungiven)
light-heavyweight: Ciaran Crossan (Immaculata).


Belfast Telegraph Home > Sport > General      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

Boxing: Show me the money! Barnes in cash plea for Games build-up
By Jack Magowan

04 February 2006


Paddy Barnes is 18 years old, weighs no more than a sack of coal, and gave up a good Post Office job to prepare for next month's Commonwealth Games.

Young Barnes is in boxing's seven-man Ulster team for Melbourne, four of whom chose not to compete in the National Senior championships for reasons that sounded less than convincing.

Not paperweight Barnes, however, nor the Hamill boys from Ballymena.

Like Barnes, welterweight TJ Hamill lost a contest he deserved to win in Dublin, while golden-boy Gerry's other nephew, Dermot, was a lucky semi-final winner at light-welterweight before back-pedalling his way to a low-wattage victory in the final.

Did Ulster's lone champion here have an off night, or is it likely that such negative tactics will again be rewarded at the Games?

I doubt it. If a sorely disillusioned Barnes was upset by a rank bad decision against the Limerick man who beat him last year, Jim Moore, it wasn't the only reason he felt short-changed here.

Now jobless and committed 100 per cent to a tough training programme, the Holy Family lad would be handsomely grant-aided if he lived in the Republic, but this, sadly, is Ulster, where amateur boxers must fight as hard for funding as they do in the ring.

"I need money now," said Paddy before pleading bare-faced robbery in his last contest but one prior to Melbourne.

"The IABA have just been handed another fat cheque, this time for 140,000, and are generous in their help for elite boxers, but I wish I could say the same for funding in Ulster.

"It's not charity we expect; only money we're entitled to!" And what about those who officiate in Ireland's major championships?

"Like the referees and judges summoned for duty at both senior and intermediate tournaments, yet expected to foot their own expenses.

"I repeatedly make a 300-mile round-trip to South Circular Road, and get nothing in return," said one long-in-the-tooth referee from Co Cork.

"Tonight will cost some of us about 150 euro (over 100), but there's no point in even asking for a petrol allowance.

"You'll be told that the honour of officiating at the Senior championships should be payment enough.

"Changed times, indeed."

How fit and well John Rodgers is looking.

Now 59 and director of his own company, Lisburn's nine-time Ulster and Irish champion was the happy recipient of a Hall of Fame award on finals' night at the Stadium, a gesture that not only delighted John's wife Marian and family, but longtime friend Ben Briscoe, Dublin's former Lord Mayor.

"I've lost count of how many times I was on my feet when Rodgers and Jim McCourt boxed here," smiled fight-fan Briscoe.

"Is it 30 years since John hung up his gloves?

"The name of the Hungarian he met in his last contest escapes me, but I know he won!"

Mayor Briscoe asks to be remembered to Downpatrick-exile, Gerry Hassett, president of the Northern Ireland Ex-Boxers' Association.

"I boxed Gerry in a juvenile final in Dublin nearly 60 years ago," recalls Ben with a twinkle.

"I think I had him worried that night. He thought he had killed me!"

Everybody is singing hosannas for Ireland's new amateur star, Darren Sutherland, and with good reason.

He's the best we have by far, a naturally gifted young middleweight who doesn't stop to think what to do next.

He just does it!

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Sunday Life Home > Sport      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

I'll prove my worth - Hamill

By David Kelly

05 February 2006


Dermot Hamill has his eyes set on a medal at the Commonwealth Games next month.

Hamill admits that his confidence is "sky-high" following last weekend's first Irish senior title success in the National Stadium, Dublin.

Hamill made history by becoming the first boxer from Ballymena club All Saints to win an Irish senior title and he says it was "a sweet, sweet victory" over David Nevin.

Following the selection of the seven-man team for Melbourne there had been some barbed comments flying Hamill's way, suggesting that he did not deserve to be heading Down Under, partly because he did compete in the Ulster Senior Championships in December - due to a fractured foot.

Cavan lad Nevin, unable to box for Northern Ireland in the Games, went on to win the Ulster senior light-welterweight title.

"It was a sweet, sweet victory for many reasons. After all the stick I had taken, some hard stuff written in the papers about me, it was great to prove that I should be going to the Games.

"After all I'm the only one going with an Irish senior title," said Hamill.

"And to win the title by beating the Ulster senior champion was just great. I hope I showed a lot of people just how wrong they were.

"And it was special to be the first one from All Saints to win an Irish senior title and it has just given me a lot of confidence going into the Games."

Hamill has been boxing since he was six along with cousin TJ and together they have come through from junior champions to senior success.

Now Dermot believes they can be part of a Northern Ireland team ready to take the Games by storm next month.

"With the right draw at the start I'm sure that I can settle down and go and get a medal," said Hamill, who works as an electrician for HR Electrics.

"That's what happened in the Irish Championships. As soon as I got the first win I was off and running. It was my first win down in the Irish seniors and I just took off.

"I think TJ is boxing as well as I have seen him, he's been working very hard and he was unlucky to lose in the Irish semi-finals and I know that with a bit of luck we can win a medal.

"And I think the team can do very well. We have a young team but a very talented team going to the Games."

Dermot and TJ will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of their uncle and co-trainer Gerry, who struck gold at the 1978 Games in Edmonton when a certain Barry McGuigan also took gold.

"Gerry has been a great help. He knows what it takes and he is giving us plenty of advice and hopefully it will all pay-off."

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Belfast Telegraph Home > Sport > General      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

Boxing: England's hopes take a big hit as Darren wins

By Jack Magowan

11 February 2006


Boxing has been full of bull and bluster about England's medal prospects at next month's Commonwealth Games, but not any more.

Not since the star of their 11-man team for Melbourne was forced to eat humble pie for a second time by Ireland's brightest talent, Darren Sutherland.

It was after James 'Chunky' DeGale won two ABA titles in the same season that North London fans launched into a drum-beating exercise for this 19-year-old six-footer with the James Bond profile.

He would be favourite for middleweight gold, they said, in a Games' side that looked poised for a medal sweep. What nobody had expected, however, least of all young DeGale, was for the England No.1 to be beaten again by Sutherland, this time in Dublin.

The ABA had picked three of its Melbourne squad for this Four Nations tournament, but only Merseysider Stephen Smith had much to celebrate after DeGale came unstuck on the opening night, and Jamie Cox, from Swindon, suffered a melt-down against Cavan tearaway, David Nevin, in the light-welterweight final.

For Sutherland, a 22-year-old student, the Athens Olympics would seem to have come two years too soon.

Not only has he more fire-power than Andy Lee, Ireland's lone choice there, he's a stronger boxer-fighter than Lee, and might well have won a medal at the recent World Championships in China had he not been drawn against the eventual title-winner, a Russian, in the quarter-finals.

"Good body-punchers always catch the eye," says Barney Eastwood, "And young Sutherland is the best I've seen for some time in the amateur game here. He looks comfortable at the weight, too, and, with smart management, could go far in the professional ranks."

Sutherland's dad, Anthony, is from the sunshine island of St Vincent in the Caribbean, but Darren was born in Dublin, where he's now working for a sports' science degree.

He has had about 80 amateur contests, losing only one in over 18 months. It's on Friday, March 3, that Ulster's seven boxers in a smaller-than-usual multi-sport Games team of 56, plus extras, head for Melbourne. This will give competitors over a week to acclimatise for 10 days of non-stop action that will be fiercest in swimming, athletics, cycling and bowls.

It's true that no other sport can match boxing's record haul of Ulster Games' medals - eight Gold, nine silver and 21 bronze - but it's also true that since Victoria '94, the well of talent and success has almost dried up.

Not because competitive standards have improved, I hasten to add.

In fact, from what we saw in Manchester four years ago, they could be in sharp decline, and for that the finger of blame, I feel, points directly at (a) a warped and muddled scoring system even boxers don't like, and (b) the compulsory use of headgear that should be confined to the gym.

Once, boxing was an integral and glamorous part of the 'Friendly Games', but not any more. Now the sport has been reduced to a supporting role, a mere bit-player on a Games' stage dominated by world-ranked swimmers and athletes.

And if Australia look like making a splash in the pool, their boxers, too, will be a match for anybody, judging from results in Manchester.

There, England promoted five finalists and Canada four, but it was the Aussies who won most gold medals (3) on a day in which only Nigeria and Zambia among the African nations had much to celebrate. Changed times. At five Games between Jamaica 1966, scene of Jim McCourt's triumph, and Brisbane '82, African boxers took home no fewer than 29 golds, but since Brisbane, their gold haul stands at 13.

Sadly, the Blays, Waruinges, Kalules and Azumah Nelson's of the game are now as rare as buffalo!

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Sunday Life Home > Sport      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

Sports Council funding: 220,000 knockout

By Jim Gracey

19 February 2006


A host of Ulster sportsmen and women with major ambitions will be 220,000 better off this week thanks to the latest round of Sports Council funding.

Sports set to benefit include athletics, cricket, judo, sailing, boxing and hockey as well as Disability Sports.

Biggest awards go to the home-based members of the Irish cricket team bound for next year's World Cup in the West Indies, a total of 47,000, and to our local Commonwealth Games competitors in Melbourne next month who share 25,000.

Minor sports like karting and squash are also supported as is Disability Sport with golfer John Condie being backed to the tune of 9,000 in his bid to reach the 2007 World One-Armed golf championships.

Our players on the Irish hockey team set for the 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament get 10,400 while top squash player Madeline Perry, the world ranked No10 from Banbridge, is awarded 24,800 in her bid to move further up the ladder.

An interesting inclusion is 20-year-old girl boxer Alanna Audley-Murphy, from Belfast, who is aiming to be ready for the 2012 London Olympics if, as expected, womens boxing is included for the first time.

Right now her 4,000 Sports Council award will go toward training for the European Women's Senior Champions being held in Poland in September.

Alanna is a member of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's High Performance team and is the current Ulster and Irish Champion.

Her successes include a silver medal in the Multi-Nations Event in Istanbul in Turkey in July 2005 and she was also voted best Irish boxer at Canada vs Ireland in Toronto in October 2005.

Alanna said: "The funding and support provided to me by Sports Council for my training and competition should take me some way to achieving my target of a top eight placing in the European event in Poland.

"Ultimately, I hope that London will be the first Olympics to include female boxing so that I can aim to achieve my dream of an Olympic medal."

Her theme was taken up by Sports Council chairman, Professor Eric Saunders, who in confirming the awards, said: "This funding is a reflection of the Sports Council's commitment to improving the levels of excellence in sport in Northern Ireland, especially in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics.

"All the benefitting athletes will be assisted throughout their performance plans so they can compete successfully in their international competitions.


"The Sports Council's two priorities are the funding of sports people and sports facilities.

"This latest backing for our most talented athletes is part of a 10 million investment package by the Sports Council in local sport.

"In addition to the funding of our talented athletes we have ear-marked 3.6 million to local councils, community groups and education projects and 4.3 million to improving sports facilities."

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Sunday Life Home > Sport      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games countdown: Kid Ryan's our big Aussie Ray of hope

By Mark Dempsey

19 February 2006


SUNBATHING is off for Ryan Lindberg and the rest of the boxing team but he's still dreaming of soaking up the Aussie rays in style next month.

"We've been told there's no sunbathing but I'm still hoping to do it after the Games, just lying there with a medal around my neck," says Lindberg.

Lindberg and Immaculata ABC clubmate Ciaran Crossan are the two youngest competitors on the seven-man boxing team at just 17, having exploded onto the senior scene last year.

Lindberg caused the upset of the Championships by winning the Ulster senior flyweight title with victory over Carl Frampton - then reigning Irish champion - and that came on the back of winning the Co Antrim and Ulster Intermediate Championships.

The Belfast teenager, just like the rest of the team, has whipped himself into "the shape of his life" and is ready to cap a dream year at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Victory at a packed Ulster Hall took Lindberg to a new level, something he had not considered at the start of the boxing season in September.

"I knew that I was going to enter the Ulster seniors but I couldn't have dreamed of going to the Commonwealth Games in my first year as a senior," said Lindberg.

"But winning the Ulster senior title was just so special and it gave me a lot of confidence and I'm going to Melbourne believing that I can get a medal.

"I'm aiming for a bronze and if I get that far then I can start thinking about a gold.

"The great thing for me and Ciaran is that there is no pressure on us. It's our first year and we'll just go and give it everything and it's just going to be a great experience."

Both men also know that when they go back to the corner their Immaculata coach Gerry 'Nugget' Nugent will be there, which Lindberg believes will be "a massive help".

He added: "Having Nugget in the corner is a big boost. It just makes you feel comfortable about the whole thing and gives you a little more confidence.

"He knows us more than anyone else and we know that he will have us right and will be able to get us through anything we have to face.

"The team spirit in the camp has been fantastic and we are all feeling very strong and confident about going to Melbourne."

And while there may be no pressure in the ring, Lindberg has had to work hard at his Business studies at Corpus Christi College.

"I've been putting in the hours and I've managed to get all the course work done and the school have been great. I think they're proud of me and they've given me a couple of weeks off so I can concentrate fully on the Games.

"It's my final year so I know there is plenty still to do but now I can focus on the Games, doing my best and hopefully getting that medal."

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Sunday Life Home > News      Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph

Alana packs a punch

Stephanie Bell

25 February 2006


She's as pretty as a picture and can pack a punch any man twice her size would be proud of!

Twenty-year-old Alana Murphy-Audley is fighting her way to fame across Europe as a force to be reckoned with in the highly-competitive world of female boxing.

And with the recent announcement of funding from the Sports Council, this determined and talented young sportswoman is now setting her sights on bringing Olympic glory to Northern Ireland in 2012.

The Sandy Row girl caused a stir when she became the first female to join her local boxing club at the tender age of 13 "to keep fit".

It wasn't long before she was hooked - training every night and qualifying for international tournaments.

She became the first woman to represent Ireland at an international match in Iceland when she was just 16.

It was a contest which sealed her future and made her more determined than ever to take her sport seriously.

"It was like something from a movie, because it was the first female boxing match in Iceland for years as the sport had been banned there," she told Sunday Life.

"There was a lot of publicity and when I was fighting a TV camera was following me round the ring like something out of the Rocky movies."

Alana went on to win a silver medal in the Multi-Nations Event in Istanbul last July and then in October, was voted best Irish boxer at Canada vs Ireland in Toronto.

Although she finished her studies at college and is a qualified fitness instructor, boxing is her priority and any thoughts of a career has been put on hold.

So impressive is Alana's grit and determination to succeed, that the Northern Ireland Sports Council recently announced sponsorship support for her.

It has given Alana a much needed boost.

She said: "It's really hard for me to keep a job, because I have to take so much time out for fights.

"I train every night in Belfast and every Saturday I travel to Dublin for training as part of the Irish squad. It costs about 100 just to make the trip every week and I couldn't have managed so far without the help of my parents.

"The sponsorship from the Sports Council has taken a lot of pressure off me and given me the confidence to aim for more medals and competing at the highest level."

You don't get much higher than the Olympics."

At present, female boxing is not considered an Olympic sport but the competition's governing committee has agreed to trials, with a view to including it in the 2012 Games.

Unsurprisingly, Alana is already aiming to make her mark.

"I'll be 26 then, and much stronger and with a lot more experience. I think when the committee see the trials and see how serious the female competitors are, they will have no choice but to include it and I'll be there," she said with such confidence that she leaves you in no doubt.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 08:45 GMT - from BBC website
Ones to watch - N Ireland

Northern Ireland are represented in a wide variety of sports at the Commonwealth Games, from badminton to triathlon, all of whom will be hoping to medal.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at eight competitors chasing gold for their country in Melbourne.

David Calvert


Calvert is Northern Ireland's most successful Commonwealth Games competitor with a total of four golds and three bronze.

The RAF pilot has the task of defending two titles in Melbourne - the rifle singles and the pairs.

Calvert will again team up with David Millar in the pairs, where the duo will be favourite to defend their title.

The 54-year-old County Down man is heading to Australia for a remarkable eighth Commonwealth Games.

Dermont Hamill


Hamill goes to the Commonwealth Games as the newly-crowned Irish Amateur Light Welterweight champion.

Buoyed by his success in Dublin, the electrician is confident he can perform well in Melbourne.

Hamill is joined in Australia by his cousin Thomas or "TJ" who is also part of the seven-strong Northern Ireland squad.

The pair have fulfilled a lifelong dream to represent their country and plan to keep up their fitness together by going on plenty of long runs.

Margaret Johnston


Johnston, who was named BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year for 2004, is one of the most dominant names in women's bowls.

Johnston has been at the top of her sport across the last three decades and clinched a record third World Bowls title in 2004.

The 62-year-old also has Commonwealth singles gold (1994) and bronze (1990) to her name as well as gold in the pairs (1986).

The grandmother says the secret of her success is cycling and playing bowls several times a week

David McCann


McCann has made a promising start to 2006 on the Asian Tour and will want to carry that forward to the Commonwealths.

The Belfastman finished eighth in the road race in Manchester and will be after another decent showing in Australia.

McCann and prolific team-mate Michael Hutchinson could do well in the endurance time trial.

Selectors have named McCann, who rides for the Great Asia team, as their "main hope" so the pressure is already on.

James McIlroy


From successful beginnings in football and golf, McIlroy has become a familiar face in middle-distance running.

The 29-year-old made his senior British debut in 2000 and, when free from injury, he is a determined competitor.

McIlroy was the 16th fastest man over 800m in 2005 but with many competitors out of the frame in Melbourne he is aiming for a final spot at least.

The Larne athlete made his Commonwealth debut in Manchester where he finished sixth.

Eamon O'Kane


O'Kane will captain the men's boxing team in Melbourne as they seek to make amends for a disastrous display four years ago.

Usually a strong force, Northern Ireland came away without a medal, forcing an inquest into the state of amateur boxing.

O'Kane is in a middleweight division packed with tricky opponents but tuned up by winning the Ulster title for a fourth time in January.

The Derryman's experience will also be invaluable to promising youngster Ryan Lindberg, also in the squad.

Madeline Perry


Perry has continued to make strides on the international stage, breaking into the top 10 in the world rankings this year.

That meant Perry became the second highest-ranked Irishwoman of all time behind Rebecca Best.

A successful 2005 season saw the 28-year-old claim two titles on the WISPA tour in Hong Kong and Dublin.

Despite picking up a racquet aged 11, Perry admits she is a bit of a late bloomer at world level but she will hope to make at least the quarter-finals in Melbourne.



Ross is Northern Ireland's highest ranked individual player as he sits at 11 in the World Bowls Tour rankings.

But the 32-year-old is eyeing Commonwealth success with team-mate Neil Graham in the men's pairs.

The duo have already tasted success as they took gold in the fours at the 2004 World Outdoor Championships.

As well as a medal in Melbourne, Ross says his main ambition for 2006 is to finally win a major WBT ranking event.


Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 12:24 GMT
Commonwealth redemption

By John Haughey
BBC Sport


Eamon O'Kane

Eamon O'Kane has no desire to turn professional

Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games boxing captain Eamon O'Kane has vowed that this year's seven-strong squad will claim medals in Melbourne.

The Irish performed dismally four years ago in Manchester, failing to pick up a single medal.

It was a massive jolt for a sport which has traditionally delivered medals for the Northern Ireland team.

"There's no reason why any one of us can't get a medal," the 23-year-old Dungiven man told BBC Sport.

"I'm confident in my own ability and I've been training along with the other lads and they are going very well.

"I'm certainly fully confident that everybody is going to improve on the one victory, which Martin Lindsay managed in Manchester."


The Masters graduate in computing says he will go into the Games in the best shape of his life.

I don't believe in going professional

Eamon O'Kane

"I've been gearing for this for four years.

"I trained with the Commonwealth team when they trained in Cuba before the last Games in Manchester.

"At that time I was a bit jealous to be missing out and I said to myself that I would definitely be in Melbourne," adds O'Kane who has claimed four successive Ulster titles as well as two silver medals in the Commonwealth Boxing Championships in the last four years.

O'Kane's latest Ulster title win in December ensured his place in Melbourne although he hurt his hand in the process of grinding out a narrow win over Eamon Corbett.

"I was in a bit of pain immediately after the fight but when the final bell went, I knew I had the fight won although you're always a bit doubtful when it goes to the judges."

Unlike many boxers competing in Melbourne, middleweight O'Kane does not see the Games as a stepping-stone to the paid ranks.

The fine tuning I've done can turn the silver medals from the Commonwealth Championships into gold in Melbourne

Eamon O'Kane

"I don't believe in going professional - not because I don't like the game - but you have to be realistic.

"There's maybe one in 500 that make it in the pro game. Granted, I believe I'm talented but how talented."

In fact, O'Kane confesses that he's not a big fan of professional boxing.

"I wouldn't be a big watcher of TV boxing. I'm more into the scoring system, the tactics of the amateur game.

"Amateur boxing also gives you a structure every year. It has European competitions and there is always something to aim towards.


"I have a lot of experience now and I believe that the fine tuning that I've done over the last few months can turn the silver medals from the Commonwealth Championships into gold in Melbourne."


Northern Ireland Boxing team:
light-flyweight: Patrick Barnes (Holy Family)
flyweight: Ryan Lindberg (Immaculata)
bantamweight: Shaun McKim (Abbey, Bangor)
light-welterweight: Dermot Hamill (Ballymena All Saints)
welterweight: Thomas Hamill (Ballymena All Saints)
middleweight: Eamonn O'Kane (Dungiven)
light-heavyweight: Ciaran Crossan (Immaculata)


Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 17:30 GMT
Hamill cousins begin challenges

Dermot Hamill

Dermot Hamill is the first NI boxer in action on Friday

Ballymena cousins Dermot and TJ Hamill will be the opening Northern Ireland boxers in action at the Commonwealth Games on Friday.


Light-welterweight Dermot Hamill faces Tanzania's Simon Petro at 0915 GMT while welter TJ takes on Zambia's Ellis Chibuye less than an hour later.

Northern Ireland gymnasts Katie Slader, Rachel Forde and Kathryn Ward begin their challenge on Friday.

Forde has an injury so will compete in only two elements.

Slader, in her second Commonwealth Games, and Ward will both be hoping of finishing in the top-24 and earning a place in the all-round final.

All four Northern Ireland swimming hopefuls will be in action on Friday.

Melanie Nocher and Jonathan Nixon will make their Commonwealth Games debuts in the heats of the 100 metres backstroke and 100m breaststroke.

Nixon will be joined in the 100m event by Andrew Bree who will be using the event as a tune-up for his 200m breaststroke challenge later in the games.

Bree's rivals in his heat will include top English medal hopes James Gibson and Chris Cook.

Julie Douglas will compete in the heats of the 100m freestyle, hoping to improve after making little impression in the 50m butterfly heats.

Andrew Bree

Andrew Bree competes in the 100m breaststroke heats on Friday

In bowls, both the men's triples and the men's and women's pairs hopefuls will continue their campaigns on Friday.

The women's pair of Barbara Cameron and Donna McNally have three games against Nuie, the Cook Islands and Samoa.

Men's pair Jonathan Ross and Noel Graham face Brunei while the triples of Neil Booth, Jeremy Henry and Mark McPeake face difficult games against New Zealand and Fiji.

After winning their two opening games against St Vincents and the Grenadines and Ghana, the Northern Ireland table tennis team tackle pool favourites India and Kiribati.

The Northern Ireland badminton team, beaten by Sri Lanka on Thursday, face an even tougher task against favourites Malaysia in their second group match.

After the entrance of the two Hamills on Friday, bantamweight Shaun McKim will be the next Northern Ireland boxer in action on Saturday when he faces Mmoloki Nogeng on Botswana.

Patrick Barnes, who along with Ciaran McCrossan and Eamon O'Kane, will be guaranteed a medal if he wins two fights, faces another Botswana contender in the light-flyweight division on Sunday.

McCrossan will face either Scotland's Kenneth Anderson and Papua New Guinea's Vincent Kora in his light-heavyweight opener on Sunday when the Hamills will also be in action, if they come through their bouts on Friday.

Northern Ireland captain Eamon O'Kane and Ryan Lindberg will be the final Northern Ireland hopefuls into the ring on Monday.

Middleweight O'Kane faces Jovette Jean of the Seychelles while flyweight Lindberg is up against Ghanian Emmanuel Addo.



Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 12:27 GMT - from the BBC
Hamill cousins win boxing openers

Dermot Hamill

Dermot Hamill beat Tanzania's Hasim Petro 16-3 in Melbourne

Ballymena cousins Dermot and TJ Hamill enjoyed wins in their opening fights at the Commonwealth Games on Friday.


Dermot recovered from a flash second round knockdown to overcome Tanzania's Hasim Petro 16-3 at light-welterweight.


Welterweight TJ produced a great final round to come from five points down to beat Zambian Ellis Chibuye 26-24.


"I was told by my corner I had to produce the round of my life if I was going to stay in the competition and that is what I did," TJ admitted.


"I was disappointed with my first two rounds because I did not get settled in and could not get my hands going.


"But in that final round my legs and arms have never moved so much."


Dermot next faces Welshman Jamie Crees who impressed in a 26-9 victory over Carl Heild of the Bahamas.


Belfast Telegraph Home > Sport > General      from the Tele...

Boxing: The 'other' Brad Pitt can prove a big hit too!

By Jack Magowan

18 March 2006


Look out for Brad Pitt among Melbourne's medal-winners. No, not the father of Angelina Jolie's baby.

This Brad Pitt is Australia's heavyweight at the Commonwealth Games, a big, strong guy who could double for every girl's favourite card-sharp in Ocean's Eleven.

It was in Manchester four years ago that all three Australian finalists in boxing struck gold, and nobody should be surprised if they now dominate as much in the ring as they will in the pool.

Their 11-man panel has been in training since Christmas, interrupted only by a round-the-world trip to Europe. And in Norway, teenager Lenny Zappavigna not only won the lightweight medal, but was voted 'best boxer' in a tournament spanning twelve nations.

"Lenny win something this time, but gold, I can't be sure. England have a bright talent in Frankie Gavin at the same weight, and what a treat it'll be for the fans if both meet in next Sunday's 60kg final."

Gavin, a 20-year-old southpaw, is from Birmingham, and brought a whole new meaning to being a busy young fighter by engaging in no fewer than 26 contests in 2005, one of them against Cuba's great Mario Kindelan, to whom he conceded nearly half-a-stone.

It was a David v Goliath match, which Kindelan won, but Frankie reckons he learned a lot from the maestro. Since then, he has beaten Selchuk, Turkey's European silver medallist, and the glamour-boy Italian, Valentino, a semi-finalist in the world championships.

Middleweight Chunky DeGale, a double ABA champion, spearheads England's medal charge in Melbourne, where Ulster have a team of seven, four of them medal prospects. Naturally, Immaculata's Ryan Lindberg was hoping to avoid double-Olympic veteran, Bradley Hore, early in the draw, but got a tough Ghanaian instead, while coach Nugget Nugent's other young prodigy, Ciaran Crossan, also 17, must have been happy not to meet tough-guy Ben McEachran in his opening contest. Cruiserweight Ben was a bronze medallist at the last Manchester Games, from which Ulster boxers returned empty-handed for the first time in Commonwealth history.

Out of touch officialdom took the blame for that comedown, just as they should do this time for leaving top coach Mickey Hawkins at home. Let's hope this is not another blunder they'll have reason to regret! Time was when Africans ruled the roost in Games' boxing, but not any longer.

Not since the Canadians and Australians got an appetite for the sport in which the cream of Northern Ireland have won eight gold, nine silver, and 20 bronze medals since Jimmy Magill, from Larne, broke the ice in 1934. Here's hoping we can add to that score in Melbourn!

FEW of us have given more time and energy to amateur boxing than Harry Doherty of Golden Gloves fame. And it doesn't end there.

Just when American boxing writers are about to pick the best film ever made about the game - and my choice would be 'Raging Bull' - lawman Doherty has presented a 30-year collection of over 80 big-fight videos, plus pen profiles, to the Irish ABA in Dublin.

"It's a wonderful gesture by a great friend of boxing," says ABA president, Dominic O'Rourke.

"The videos are a unique record of the sport in all its drama, courage and artistry, and will be of immense value."

What the National Stadium badly needs is a display cabinet in which boxing artifacts and memorabilia could be shop-windowed. Think about it, Mr President!

Meanwhile, the famous cable offering Rinty Monaghan a massive 20,000 dollars, plus travel tickets, for a defence of his world flyweigh crown against Dado Marino in Honolulu remains one of fight fan Doherty's treasured possessions. It is dated September 23, 1948; addressed to Frank McAloran (Rinty's manager), Ludlow Street, Belfast, and signed Sam Ichinose, aloha and best wishes.

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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 11:58 GMT
Boxing pair make quarter-finals
TJ Hamill fends off a shot from Kenya's Absolom Okoth in Sunday's bout
TJ Hamill (left) will gold medal favourite Neil Perkins next
Northern Ireland boxers Patrick Barnes and TJ Hamill are through to the quarter-finals in Melbourne.

Belfast light flyweight Barnes cruised to a 20-point rule victory over Botswana's Michael Rantsho on Sunday.

Ballymena's Hamill beat Kenya's Absolom Okoth by the 20-point rule to make the welterweight quarter-finals.

Light welterweight Dermot Hamill lost by a point to Welshman Jamie Crees and Ciaran McCrossan suffered a knock-out loss in his light heavyweight bout.

Crossan was floored twice in the second round by Scotland's Kenneth Anderson.

TJ Hamill will face England's gold medal favourite Neil Perkins in the quarter-finals.

Middleweight Eamon O'Kane and flyweight Ryan Lindberg are in action on Monday.

Hamil's came up short against the European champion


Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 08:29 GMT

Perkins sets up fight with Hamill

Neil Perkins (right) and Canada's Adam Trupish

Perkins (right) won bronze at the world championships


England welterweight Neil Perkins came on strong in the last two rounds to beat Canada's Adam Trupish in his second round clash.


Perkins won 23-13 to set up a clash with Northern Ireland's Thomas Hamill, who stopped Kenya's Absolom Okoth.

Wales super heavyweight Kevin Evans cruised to a convincing 31-19 win over Canada's Robert Montgomery.

And Scotland light heavyweight Kenneth Anderson knocked out Northern Ireland's Ciairon Crossan.

Anderson will now fight England's Tony Jeffries, who disapatched South Africa's Tshepang Mohale inside two rounds.

England super heavyweight David Price also moved into the last eight after stopping Fiji's Taraiasi Rasaubale in the first round.

Scotland welterweight Kris Carslaw beat Lesotho's Thandi Ntjona on points , while Scottish light welterweight Mark Hastie saw off South African Goodman Zanempi.

Wales light welterweight Jamie Crees squeeked past Ulsterman Dermot Hamill 22-21 after a fine encounter while England's Jamie Cox stopped Botswana's Herbert Nkabiti in the second round.

At light flyweight, Northern Ireland's Patrick Barnes beat Botswana's Michael Rantsho on the outclassed rule and Wales' Mohammed Nasir beat Ghana's Manyo Plange on points

In addition, England's Darran Langley outpointed India's Suranjoy Mayengbam as only two home nations boxer lost on Sunday.


BOXING 0000-1230

Patrick Barnes of Northern Ireland is through to the semi-finals in his light flyweight division after beating Botswana's Michael Rantsho.

Wales' Mo Nasir continues his medal quest in the light flyweight division against Manyo Plange of Ghana, while Darran Langley of England takes on India's Suranjoy Mayengbam.

Langley's countryman Simon Russian is up against Botswana's Herbert Nkabiti hoping to make it through to the semi-finals of the light-welterweights.

Scottish light-welterweight Mark Hastie saw off South Africa's Goodman Zanempi 27-18. Scottish welterweight champion Andrew Carslaw faces Thandi Ntjona of Lesotho for a semi-final place.




Belfast Telegraph Home > News

TJ has star Neeson in his corner as he battles for gold
20 March 2006


Hollywood star Liam Neeson has more of a reason than most to see a member of Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games team land a medal.

For Neeson is the Honorary President of the All Saints Boxing Club in his home town of Ballymena from which fighter, Thomas (TJ) Hamill, is battling for success in Melbourne.

Neeson, who boxed for the All Saints club as a boy, still keeps up his interest in the sport and was part of the 5,000 strong crowd which crammed into Madison Square Garden, New York, on St Patrick's Eve to see Derry boxer John Duddy defeat Shelby Pudwill.

TJ Hamill (25) beat a Kenyan fighter yesterday to make the Welterweight quarter-finals in Melbourne, where he now fights England's Neil Perkins on Wednesday.

But also yesterday TJ's 25-year-old All Saints clubmate and cousin, Dermot Hamill (25) lost to Jamie Crees from Wales in the last 16 of the Light Welterweight section.

A source in Ballymena said: "All Saints club members and friends and relatives have been sitting up late into the night to catch the Hamill fights from Australia and there is much excitement.

"The club's Honorary President Liam Neeson takes a keen interest in the club and he will be as proud as anyone else if TJ can win a medal."

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 11:22 GMT
NI boxers lose in quarter-finals
Middleweight Eamonn O'Kane
Middleweight Eamonn O'Kane lost in the quarter-finals

Three Northern Ireland boxers have missed out on bronze medals after losing their quarter-final contests.

Dungiven middleweight Eamonn O'Kane lost 28-19 to Samoan Warren Fuavailili and will now hang up his gloves.

"Whenever I threw punches I was catching him but the judges weren't pressing the buttons," said O'Kane.

Ryan Lindberg lost 36-27 to England's Don Broadhurst at flyweight while TJ Hamill went down 36-19 to England captain Neil Perkins at welterweight.

O'Kane produced a plucky performance but was disappointed.

"I am normally a good sportsman and I did my best but I thought I scored at least five more points in that last round.

"He wasn't throwing anything but what are you supposed to do.

"I have trained twice a day every day for this event, but the judges didn't recognise the punches I threw.

"I always planned to retire after these Games," said the 24-year-old.


Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 12:49 GMT

Hamill considering boxing future

By Matt Majendie
BBC Sport in Melbourne


TJ Hamill fends off a shot from Kenya's Absolom Okoth in Sunday's bout

TJ Hamill (left) lost to gold medal favourite Neil Perkins

Northern Ireland boxer Thomas Hamill will reassess his career after missing out on a Commonwealth Games medal.


The 25-year-old welterweight would have ensured at least a bronze by beating England's Neil Perkins in his quarter-final but was beaten 36-19.

Hamill told BBC Sport: "I'm 25 years old and boxing takes up a lot of your life when you're doing a full time job.

Things are only worth doing if you enjoy them and I still enjoy boxing so I will have to wait and see."


"I work for the family business - in forklift trucks - and I need to think about what to do next."

The Northern Irish team had gone into the Games hopeful of a medal from their seven-man boxing team.

But none of their fighters booked their place in the semi-finals.

"I felt some of the judging was a bit harsh on our guys," he said. "I watched our captain Eamonn O'Kane's fight on the tv and felt he was hard done by.

"And tonight I felt there were a lot of punches I landed that didn't score.

Neil is a world championship bronze medallist so I always had my work cut out

Thomas Hamill

"But I'm here to box and not to judge. All I can do is put the hits in and hope for the best."

Northern Ireland currently have just two medal from these Games - a silver in the lawn bowls and a silver in shooting.


And Hamill admitted he was "massively disappointed" not to have added to that tally.

"I'm obviously down about not getting a medal but this is a great experience and Neil is a world championship bronze medallist, so I always had my work cut out," he said.

"But I'll come away from Melbourne with my head held high knowing I've done Northern Ireland proud."




Melbourne 2006 boxing schedule and results


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