Gold rush for Ireland as Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst and Aoife O'Rourke triumph at European Championship

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Gold Rush For Ireland As Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst And Aoife O'rourke Triumph At European Championship Gold Rush For Ireland As Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst And Aoife O'rourke Triumph At European Championship
2022 Women's European Boxing Championships, Budva, Montenegro 22/10/2022 Ireland coach Zaur Antia celebrates with gold medalists Amy Broadhurst, Kellie Harrington and Aoife O’Rourke Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Aleksandar Djorovic
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Ireland have won a total of three gold medals at the European Women's Championship in Montenegro following title bout victories for Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst and Aoife O'Rourke.

While Cork's Tina Desmond and Belfast native Caitlin Fryers settled for silver as they lost their deciding bouts Saturday, the final tally of three golds, a pair of silvers and two further bronze medals marks this the most successful major championships for any Irish team.

Harrington has secured a gold medal after overcoming Lenka Bernadova of the Czech Republic in their lightweight title bout.

The Dubliner won the fight in Montenegro by unanimous decision after outclassing her opponent.

The 32-year-old has now equalled Katie Taylor's feat in achieving gold at the Olympics, the World Championships and the European Championships.

Dundalk native Amy Broadhurst meanwhile has unanimously beaten Ukraine's Maria Bova in the light welterweight final in Montenegro.

Aoife O’Rourke was the last of the three to win her gold medal, overcoming Elzbieta Wojcik of Poland.

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Harrington showed all of her brilliant boxing nous and skill to comfortably see off the challenge of Lenka Bernardova of the Czech Republic in the 60kg decider. In the process, she claimed her first continental title and completed the set, having taken a World Championship in 2018.

While the opening round was on the cagier side, Harrington more than shaded things as her career continues to go from strength to strength at the age of 32. She was a unanimous winner of the first round on all five scorecards and followed that up with more of the same in the second and coasting home in the third although one lone judge awarded Bernardova the final round. No matter, Harrington was a unanimous champion.

Broadhurst was even more emphatic as she tore into Mariia Bova of Ukraine from the first moments of the 63kg final. The Dundalk native's opponent looked all at sea and was given a standing count as Broadhurst's punishing combinations found their mark.

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There was little let-up from the 25-year-old who has made a mockery of her move up to light welterweight, with Harrington blocking her way in her preferred weight class. Broadhurst eased to another unanimous victory and it was two golds before finals day had reached the halfway point.

O'Rourke completed the treble as she picked apart Elzbieta Wojcik of Poland in the 75kg final, a unanimous winner pulling up. The victory ensured back-to-back continental crowns for O'Rourke, who was a breakout performer when taking European gold in 2019 but is now very much established as one of the best in the world at her weight class.

Amy Broadhurst celebrates gold. Photo: INPHO.

Cork's Desmond had been a late call-up to this Ireland team and enjoyed an incredible week making it all the way to the final. And in spite of facing a tough prospect in the shape of Armenian Ani Hovsepyan, the southpaw put in an impressive performance before missing out on light middleweight gold medal on a split decision.

Earlier Caitlin Fryers, the 22-year-old from Belfast, faced the ultra-experienced Naz Buse Cakiroglu in the light flyweight decider and the class of Turkey's Olympic silver medalist was all too clear throughout as she stormed to a unanimous triumph.

Four years older than her Irish opponent, Cakiroglu showed real flashes of her pedigree in the first round, forcing Fryers to hunt her down and then catching the Belfast native when she got in close. The judges all favoured the Turk in the opening round.

Things got even tougher in the second stanza with Fryers knowing she needed to make up ground. Instead she fell further behind with Fryers again caught with stinging combinations. Three of the five judges scored the round a 10-8.

Cakiroglu knew all she had to do was keep her distance to claim a second European title after winning gold in 2019 and so it proved. Fryers can nonetheless be particularly proud of her incredible progress after a great performance in Montenegro.

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