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There is Common ground as boxers eye Delhi trip

By David Kelly

Commonwealth Games coach Michael Hawkins is hoping that Northern Ireland's boxers can prove their worth this week as selection for Delhi looms.

The Ulster Open boxing competition, to help the final selection for the Games, kicked off last night at Donegal Celtic FC with a solitary quarter-final which saw Holy Family's Paul Upton defeat Michael Bustard of Monkstown 6-4 at welterweight.

Upton returns for tonight's semi-finals and a clash with Adrian McCann of Clonoe.

The fight of the night may well come at lightweight with Holy Trinity's Mark O'Hara facing Immaculata's James Fryers, while there is an all Holy Trinity clash at middle when Conard Cummings tangles with David Walsh.

Games coach Hawkins, head coach at Holy Trinity, believes that all those who make through to Thursday's finals have the chance to give the selectors a headache.

While European light-flyweight gold medallist Paddy Barnes already has his ticket to Delhi along with light-heavyweight star Tommy McCarthy, there would seem to be quite a few places up for grabs.

Hawkins said: “This is the last chance for the lads to show they deserve to be at the Commonwealth Games.

“I would love there to be ten boxers going — I think if a kid wants to represent his country he should he given that chance.

“I'm sure that we could send ten guys who could do themselves justice.

“We can't just think about these Games but the Games in four years time and this kind of experience is invaluable.”

The Ulster Council will use the tournament as part of their selection process before nominating their team to the Commonwealth Games council shortly after Thursday night.

Tonight's semi-finals (8pm):

Bantamweight: Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) v Gerard Matthews (St Paul's)

Light: Mark O'Hara (Holy Trinity) v James Fryers (Immaculata); Mark Ginley (Oliver Plunkett) v Mark Morris (Gleann).

Light-welter: James McDonagh (Dockers) v James Upton (Holy Family).

Welter: Patrick Gallagher (Gleann) v Alfredo Meli (Immaculata); Adrian McCann (Clonoe) v Paul Upton (Holy Family).

Middle: Eamonn O'Kane (Immaculata) v Conor Coyle (St Joseph's Derry); Conrad Cummings (Holy Trinity) v David Walsh (Holy Trinity).

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