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18 for 18: Bray's Daina Moorehouse isn't the next Katie Taylor, but has an eye on her crown

Daina Moorehouse didn’t lose a single round as she conquered province, country and continent in her Junior Cert year.

OVER THE NEXT 10 days, our 18 for 18 series will look at 18 Irish athletes aged 18 or younger set for a big 2018. You can read the rest of the series here.

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When Daina Moorehouse strolled into St Kilian’s Community School to collect her Junior Cert results in September, she did so as a European champion.

The exams, Moorehouse told The42 with a laugh some six weeks prior, “were grand”, but then they were bound to be when compared to her more typical fare: the first seven months of 2017 had seen her conquer her province, her country, and her continent at Junior level in the ring.

The big ‘JC’ was but a minor inconvenience. Her greatest test – or tests – arrived at the European Championships in Sofia, and to say Moorehouse aced them would be an understatement: she won every round of each of her three fights, besting her continental opposition 5:0, 5:0 and 5:0 on her way to the top of the podium.

Indeed, from Bray’s Boghall Road to Bulgaria, the 16-year-old light-flyweight didn’t lose a single round this year, not to mention a fight.

There were no corners cut on either side of the ropes: while in 3rd Year in school, Moorehouse ran eight kilometers every morning at six o’clock; she’d come back, have a shower, go to school; she’d do after-school study, which kept her in school for an extra three hours; then it was down to Enniskerry Boxing Club at 7pm for more training.

Rinse. Repeat. Results.

You couldn’t blame her for opting to do Transition Year.

IMG_7341 Daina Moorehouse celebrates victory in the European Junior light-flyweight final.

You couldn’t blame anyone for drawing the rather obvious comparison with Katie Taylor, either, given Moorehouse’s supreme ability and success, as well as the pair’s shared hometown.

But while Taylor remains a sporting idol to all-comers on this island, Moorehouse isn’t one for hero-worship.

“Katie Taylor’s just from my town,” she says. “I’ve never met her, like, even though she’s from my town. I’ve never talked to her in my life.

When I joined boxing I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I want to be like Katie Taylor’. I didn’t want to be like anyone. I didn’t join boxing thinking, ‘Aw, yes, I’m going to be like her!’ I just joined it, like, and I began to love it. I don’t really have a role model or anything like that. I’m just doing my own thing.

Buenos Aires and the Youth Olympics beckon in 2018, but a summer Games in the Land of the Rising Sun in three years’ time remains the chief target for one of Irish boxing’s rising daughters.

Incredibly, Moorehouse will still be just 19 come Tokyo 2020, and so it’s not inconceivable that, should she so wish, she could partake in no fewer than four Olympic Games before she reaches 31 – the same age that Taylor is now.

She proved her mettle during a gruelling 2017, and one suspects she’ll add plenty of metal to her collection in the coming years.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

‘Exams were grand’: Daina Moorehouse conquered Europe three weeks after sitting her Junior Cert

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