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Lisa O'Rourke and Niamh Fay win gold for Ireland at European U22 Championships

Roscommon senior footballer O’Rourke won a 4-1 split in her 70kg final, while Dubliner Fay was dominant in her 54kg decider.

Lisa O'Rourke (left) and Niamh Fay (right) celebrate their gold-medal success.
Lisa O'Rourke (left) and Niamh Fay (right) celebrate their gold-medal success.

Updated Mar 22nd 2022, 6:40 PM

ROSCOMMON’S LISA O’ROURKE and Dublin’s Niamh Fay have won gold medals at the European U22 Boxing Championships in Porec, Croatia, while Mayo’s Aoibhe Carabine took silver after she was beaten in her final.

O’Rourke, the younger sister of 2019 Elite European champion and Tokyo Olympian Aoife O’Rourke, beat Polish champion Daria Parada on a 4-1 split decision in their light-middleweight decider. Fay, a former European Youth champion, dominated Italian opponent Sharon Prisco en route to a 5-0 unanimous decision in the bantamweight final. Carabine, meanwhile, gave a good account of herself against Ukraine’s former World Junior silver medalist and European Youth champ Karolina Makhno but was beaten on a unanimous verdict.

In the afternoon session, Castlerea native O’Rourke of the Olympic Galway club took the first round clearly and edged the rest of the contest in the eyes of the judges to top the podium at 70kg and earn Ireland’s first gold of the tournament.

FOdlknpXsAMDWxD Lisa O'Rourke celebrates with her European gold.

A former European Youth bronze medalist, O’Rourke has been part of Roscommon’s senior football panel since 2018 and has featured throughout their National League campaign this year. The Castlerea St Kevin’s midfielder scored a goal on her inter-county championship debut for the Rossies against Offaly in 2020.

Her gold in Croatia marks a magnificent month for the O’Rourke family, with older sister Aoife also winning maximum honours at middleweight (75kg) at the prestigious Standja Tournament in Bulgaria in late February.

In the evening session, Fay, who boxed out of Balbriggan and Swords before joining the Ballyboughal club founded by her father and trainer Gary Fay last year, was imperious as she claimed her second age-grade European gold.

Sporting her trademark fluorescent socks, the former continental Youth champ set a pace with which Italian Prisco couldn’t live.

Fay forced a standing count of her opponent in the second and while she herself tired in the third, her lead was unassailable and she took the bout five-zip to rule supreme at 54kg.

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Geesala BC’s Carabine was more than competitive against her formidable European opponent, running it close on two judges’ scorecards (28-29 in Makhno’s favour), and adds U22 silver to the European Junior gold she won back in 2017.

Dublin heavyweight (91kg) Jack Marley of Monkstown BC will also box for gold tomorrow.

Bronzes for Offaly’s Paul Loonam (60kg, St Carthage’s BC), Down’s Dylan Eagleson (54kg, St Paul’s BC), and Wicklow’s Kaci Rock (66kg, Enniskerry BC) — daughter of former four-weight Irish professional champion boxer Jim Rock — mean that Ireland’s 18-strong team will leave Croatia with a superb seven medals.

- Updated at 18:25 with Niamh Fay’s result and again at 18:40 with Aoibhe Carabine’s result.

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