Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

O’Hara leads the way in treble success for Trinity boys

It was supposed to be an enthralling repeat of their semi-final last year but Mark O’Hara made sure it was one way traffic from start to finish against Marc McCullough in the Donegal Celtic Social Club.

Commonwealth Games representative O’Hara has clearly matured as a boxer in every department and in last night’s lightweight semi-final of the Sport NI Ulster Elite championships he caught the eye with a clinical performance.

O’Hara, one of three Holy Trinity boxers to make it through to the finals, maintained a very tight guard throughout the three rounds and repeatedly exploded short blows which rammed off McCullough’s chin.

The Cairn Lodge man simply had no answer and every time he attempted to break through O’Hara’s defence he was met with a block and another stinging counter.

O’Hara, who was handed a 9-3 verdict, will go on to face James Fryers of Immaculata at next Thursday’s finals in the Ulster Hall.

Fryers, who landed a series of body shots which were not scored by the judges, defeated the game Marc McLaughlin of St Mary’s 6-2.

Sean McComb was the first of the Holy Trinity men to make the finals when he won his bantamweight clash with JD Meli of Immaculata 4-3.

The Trinity treble was completed in a nailbiting light-welterweight duel which Ethan Audley edged 7-5 over Immaculata’s Paul Hyland.

Hyland led 3-1 after the first round but then Audley seemed to settle down into the contest and within 30 seconds of the second round he was level before going ahead 5-3 by the end of the second after a series of short clean blows.

Hyland came out firing at the start of the final bell and got to within a point as they stood toe to toe trying to find an opening.

The Mac man could feel aggrieved that some of his punches were not being scored but Audley nevertheless seemed to deserve the decision.

Audley will now meet Tyrone McKenna of Oliver Plunkett in the decider as he outboxed James McDonagh of the Dockers, taking a 13-8 decision despite two public warnings for holding which handed his opponent four points.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paddy Gallagher had his first contest since Delhi and enjoyed a second round stoppage of Michael Smyth of Cairn Lodge in their welterweight semi.

Smyth was forced to take a count in the opening round and two further counts led to the stoppage.

“I was a little bit nervous getting back in but it felt good and I’m pleased to get the win and now I can look ahead to next week’s final against Willie McLaughlin.”

Immaculata middleweight Alfredo Meli was on the brink of exiting the championships when trailing 5-3 to Connor Coyle of St Joseph’s, but the Derry man was handed a public warning and that squared matters up at 5-5.

The contest went to a countback of punches on the computer and Meli won 14-11.

Joanna Barclay defeated Nicole Hamill 4-3 at middleweight.

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