JENNINGS IS IRISH BOXING CHAMP
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
CATHAL Jennings gave a magnificent performance to win an All-Ireland boxing Championship title - and has been tipped for Commonwealth glory.
The Sacred Heart 17-year-old travelled to Dublin's National Stadium on Saturday and defeated Adam Caffrey, a high-class opponent from Rush, Dublin to win the 64-kilo National Novice title.
The teenage Barcroft boxer went into the fight with only one thought in his mind - that was to win. And Cathal did that with a classy display to run out victorious with a comprehensive 18 points to eight margin.
Sacred Heart supremo Seamus McCormick told the Democrat: "Cathal went to Dublin in a determined manner. He immediately let his opponent know he was coming from Newry to win.
“He's a definite possibility for the Commonwealth Games. That's his first 15 contests over and in those 15 bouts he has only been beaten once. He's improving all the time. But we will not be entering Cathal into any more Championships until next season when we see him as an Intermediate winner," said McCormick.
Cornerman and Sacred Heart coach, Owen Murphy was also highly delighted with the young Cuan Mhuire lad's performance as he said: "Cathal has a mighty heart and is a great lad to coach. We set our stall out at the start of the season - to go for the County Antrim, then the Ulsters and finally the All-Ireland Championships - and thankfully everything went like a dream.
“Cathal was up against a strong Dublin lad and he struck to his game plan from the start of the fight. He picked his shots well and was successful," said Murphy.
From the first bell Cathal zoomed into action, working powerfully behind a good left jab and right crosses. And at the end of the opening round the Newry corner knew the Irish title was odds on to cross the border as the skilful Jennings then led with a 7-2 scoreline.
In the second round the Dublin boxer made a real fight of it but Jennings, working on the advice of Owen Murphy, controlled the contest from the centre of the ring but also used the ropes and the corner. And at the end of the second round both lads had scored three points apiece, with Cathal 10-5 ahead.
In the last round Jennings' superior fitness told. The Newry teenager had been working like a demon in the past number of weeks and he finished the contest in style. He attacked in waves and rattled off another eight points to his rivals three and at the last bell there was no doubt who was the winner.
Speaking to the Democrat, Cathal said: "I've only been boxing about a year and a half but in that time I've learned a lot from Seamus and Owen. I'd like to thank them for all their expert help, dedication and encouragement."
Cathal's father Phelim, who was in Dublin watching his boy win the All Ireland crown, told the Democrat: "Cathal's now a County Antrim, Ulster and All-Ireland title-holder. I'm really proud of my son and all the hard work he put in during the past year. And I'd like to sincerely thank Seamus and Owen, and the Sacred Heart club for all their vast input."
Meanwhile the Sacred Heart Club had yet another reason to be happy with the news that Conor Wallace had been drafted into the Irish team.
The tall, elegant Wallace had spent the past three weeks training and sparring with the national squad and now he's going to Dungarvan, county Waterford for a week's special training with the Russian Number One boxing team. And before it ends the Armagh Road 16-year-old will climb into the ring for a spar against the Russian champion.
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