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Michael O'Reilly 'doping' controversy overshadows Irish team's favourable draw

By Sean McGoldrick

Published 05/08/2016

Wednesday bout: MIchael Conlan
Wednesday bout: MIchael Conlan

With a macabre sense of timing, the story that Michael O'Reilly had failed a dope test broke just as the draw for the Olympic boxing tournament was taking place in a theatre attached to the Village Shopping Mall in the suburb of Barra.

Predictably, the news totally overshadowed the draw which could determine the fate of the Irish squad.

Watched by coaches Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger and John Conlan - father of bantamweight gold medal favourite Michael - the draw brought mostly good news for the squad which looks certain to be now reduced to seven.

But the show goes on regardless of the final outcome of the O'Reilly controversy and David Oliver Joyce will be the first Irish boxer in action on Sunday evening when he faces the unknown Andrique Allisop, the only boxer from the Seychelles to have qualified.

There was relief for Irish captain Paddy Barnes - who will be carrying the Irish tricolour at the opening ceremony tonight. He won't be boxing until the following morning having secured a fourth seed and a first-round bye.

His first bout is against the winner of a contest between an Armenian or Spanish boxer but if he progresses his probably semi-final opponents will be Cuban world champion Joahnys Argilagos. Likewise Joe Ward is likely to face the Cuban gold medal favourite Julio Cesar La Cruz in the semi-final.

With her No 1 seeding confirmed, Katie Taylor's first fight will be for a bronze medal on August 15 when she takes on the winner of a first round clash between a Finnish and Brazilian boxer. But she is on target to meet Yana Alekseevna from Azerbaijan in the semi-final in a rematch of their last-four encounter at the European Olympic qualifier in Turkey, which Taylor lost.

Irish boxers draw:

Katie Taylor (1) quarter-final: v Mira Potkonen (Finland) or Adriana Araujo (Brazil) on August 15 (morning session)

Paddy Barnes (4) second round: v Artur Hovhannis (Armenia) or Samual Carmonda Heredia (Spain) on August 8 (morning session)

B Irvine first round: v S Zoirov (Uzbekistan), Aug 13 (morning)

M Conlan (1) second round: v A Morisaka (Japan) or A Avagyan (Armenia), Aug 10 (morning)

D O Joyce: v A Allisop (Seychellas), Aug 7 (evening)

S Donnelly (8): v Z Kedache (Algeria), Aug 7 (morning)

M O'Reilly (3): v M Rodriguez (Mexico) or W Karaawi (Azerbaijan), Aug 12 (evening)

Joe Ward (4): v M Serge (Germany) or C A Mina (Ecuador), Aug 10 (evening)

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