Silver for Gráinne Walsh after narrow defeat in all-Irish final in Poland
Offaly boxer Gráinne Walsh will be coming home from a multi-nations competition in Poland with a silver medal after a split-decision defeat to Roscommon's Lisa O'Rourke in the 66kg final of the Leszek Drogosz Memorial tournament this evening (Saturday).
The 27-year-old Tullamore woman defeated opponents from Slovakia and Poland during the week, while O'Rourke (21) received a bye into the semi-finals, where she defeated a French opponent to set up the all-Irish decider.
Unsurprisingly, there was little to separate these two terrific boxers in the final.
Their contrasting styles were evident - O'Rourke was on her toes constantly, looking to capitalise on her height and reach advantages, while Walsh let fly with explosive bursts of punches.
A sharp right hook from O'Rourke resulted in Walsh receiving a standing count in the second round. In a close final, such a moment always looked like being the tipping point.
So it proved, with the 2-1 split decision going favour of the Castlerea woman.
The 66kg division is one of the weight categories for next summer's Olympic Games, and there is intense competition among the Irish boxers at this weight category, with Walsh, O'Rourke and Dundalk's Amy Broadhurst all vying for the one place on the plane to Paris.