Kellie can eclipse Egan with 11th win in Elite finals

by Jonny Stapleton
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Kellie Harrington can beat fellow National Stadium favourite Kenneth Egan and make history on the South Circular Road on Saturday night.

The St Mary’s BC lightweight won’t trade with her fellow Irish boxing legend but can eclipse his record Irish title haul if she becomes an 11-time Irish champion on National Elite finals night.

The Dublin favourite made it a perfect 10 when she beat Zara Breslin in the 2022 Championships, which happened to play out earlier this year, and faces the Tramore prospect again in Saturday’s lightweight decider.

Harrington shares the record with Egan, who won 10 consecutive titles between 2001 and 2010, fellow Paris  Olympian Michaela Walsh and Jim O’Sullivan.

The 33-year-old’s friend and current Team Ireland teammate, Walsh also goes for her 11th crown on final nights and depending on Saturday’s running order could pip Harrington to becoming the first to reach 11 Elite crowns, but that won’t detract from the achievement should Harrington follow suit.

The Olympic gold medal winner won her first title a decade ago, defeating Alhana Neill in the semi-finals and Sarah Close by an old point-scoring score of 13-10 in the final.

The likes of Moira McElligot, Kayleigh Murrihy McCormack, new pro-Shauna O’Keefe, Jelena Jelic and fellow World Championship gold medal winner Amy Broadhurst were also accounted for in finals over the years.

Harrington won’t be the only Dublin club representative vying for domestic dominance on the premier night of the Irish boxing calendar.

Monkstown’s Carol Coughlan won a Dublin derby to reach the 48kg decider last weekend, Jennifer Lehane of DCU progressed past Nicole Clyde to return to the 54kg final, while Ballyboughal’s most successful puncher Niamh Fay is one win away from retaining her title after defeating Rachel Lawless in the semis.

Tallaght middleweight Joshua Olaniyan set up a revenge mission with Louth-trained Dubliner Christopher O’Reilly, while James Redmond is an 86kg finalist after overcoming St Francis’s Vadim Ustymov.

Olympian Jack Marley will look to retain his heavyweight crown in his first fight at the National Stadium since securing Olympic qualification.

His club-mate Sean Mari is in one of the finals of the weekend, the reigning 51kg champion defends his title against reigning 48kg Elite champion, Rickey Nesbitt of Holy Family Drogheda.   At 63kg, St. Mary’s Isabella Hughes fights Linda Desmond of Rylane.

Tullamore’s St Mary BC-trained welterweight Grainne Walsh looks to retain her title against close friend and old rival Christina Desmond, Bella Hughes also fights for the Tallaght club on the premier night for Irish boxing.

More final places are up for grabs as the last of the semis are contested on Friday night.

Kellie Harrington (right) can eclipse Kenneth Egan’s record Irish title haul if she becomes an 11-time champion on National Elite finals night.
Pictures: Matthew Spalding

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