Irish fighters win a record four golds at European Schoolboys/girls Championships

Yasmin Meredith, Kaci Crowley, Winnie Christina McDonagh and Michael Faulkner all reigned supreme in Bulgaria.

IRELAND WILL RETURN home from the Black Sea today with no fewer than four gold medals earned at the European Schoolboys/Schoolgirls Championships – the country’s largest ever gold haul across both competitions.

The boys and girls in green accrued 14 total medals – another Irish record – on an incredible week for the nation’s pugilistic prodigies in Albena, Bulgaria.

Yasmin Meredith, Kaci Crowley, Winnie Christina McDonagh and Michael Faulkner all topped the podium after a memorable finals day on Tuesday.

Glasnevin 54kg operator Meredith forced a standing count in the third round versus Russian opponent Ariana Vostrikova – who was docked a point for excessive holding in the opening stanza – and came close to stopping her foe en route to a 5-0 unanimous-decision victory.

Fermanagh southpaw Crowley, fighting out of Erne BC, also faced Russian opposition in Sofia Pelevina up at 57. Crowley, too, forced a count from her adversary before having her hand raised on a whitewash.

McDonagh of Neilstown picked up her country’s third gold of the day and a third UD over Russian opposition – this time versus the rangier Alina Safina at 63.

Cork man Faulkner – a product of Northside BC – might have caused a diplomatic incident by inflicting yet further pain upon the poor Russians. The 40kg stylist outclassed Linar Valiullin on a 5-0 margin.

The Russians were to restore some pride, however: in the girls’ 70kg final, Ireland’s Nasya McGyn-Igelige seemed to fight through a leg injury en route to silver versus Valeriia Vorontsova, while Bekhan Alimkhanov edged out Curtis D’Arcy in the boys’ decider at 76.

There was heartbreak, too, for Jim Donovan at 50kg, who lost a split-decision to England’s Barney Smith after having a point deducted in the final round for throwing down his opponent.

At 67, Dearbhla Tinnelly was haunted to leave with only silver as she dropped a stinker to home fighter Kasimira Voykova of Bulgaria.

Ireland guaranteed six bronze medals earlier in the week, and so 14 of the team will return to school this week with European medals to their name.

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