Belfast Telegraph

O’Hara, McCullough set for another cracker

By David Kelly

The lightweight division is ready to spark the Sport NI Elite championships into life tonight.

This year’s entry may have arguably been the worst in history but this evening’s clash between Mark O’Hara and Marc McCullough should be a cracker.

Indeed, many felt they would have been ranked one and two for this year’s championships but instead James Fryers of Immaculata will face Marc McLaughlin of St Mary’s in the other last four duel.

Commonwealth Games representative O’Hara went on to claim the Ulster title last year having beaten McCullough in the semis in what proved to be one of the most entertaining contests of the championships.

McCullough, from Cairn Lodge, has the speed to cause any boxer trouble and O’Hara’s coach Michael Hawkins is expecting another tense duel this evening.

“Marc McCullough is an exceptional talent so I’ve no doubt it will be another great contest,” said Hawkins.

“Last year Mark got off to a great start, got a big score and that seemed to make the difference. Mark’s in terrific shape, the best I’ve seen him, so he’s feeling very confident.”

O’Hara is expected to have the edge once again to set up a likely final showdown with Immaculata man Fryers.

O’Hara’s Holy Trinity clubmate Ethan Audley is also aiming to make next Thursday’s finals night at the Ulster Hall when he clashes with Paul Hyland of Immaculata at light-welterweight.

Hyland is naturally aggressive, while Audley likes to to box behind his long jab so it should be an interesting clash of styles.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Patrick Gallagher should progress to the welterweight final with a win over Michael Smyth of Cairn Lodge.

Semi-finals (8pm):

56kg: JD Meli (Immaculata) v Sean McComb (Holy Trinity).

60kg: Mark O’Hara (Holy Trinity) v Marc McCullough (Cairn Lodge); James Fryers (Immaculata) v Marc McLaughlin (St Mary’s).

64kg: Tyrone McKenna (Oliver Plunkett) v James McDonagh (Dockers); Paul Hyland (Immaculata) v Ethan Audley (Holy Trinity).

69kg: Patrick Gallagher (Gleann) v Michael Smyth (Cairn Lodge); (women): Joanna Barclay (Holy Family) v Nicole Hamill (Gleann).

75kg: Alfredo Meli (Immaculata) v Connor Coyle (St Joseph’s).

91 +kg: Damien Ramsey (Ligoneil) v Declan McCullough (Dockers).

Belfast Telegraph

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