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Irish fighters secure 2012 spots

Darren O'Neill has led a trio of Irish fighters into the London 2012 Olympics as all three reached the qualifying standard by winning their last-16 bouts in the World Championships in Baku.

The Kilkenny middleweight, a former European silver medallist, beat Bulgaria's Mladen Manev 19-12 to reach the quarter-finals and admitted securing his place at next summer's Games was "a dream come true".

O'Neill added: "This is the stuff I've been dreaming of since I was young age. My two dreams were to medal at a major competition and to qualify for the Olympics, and now I've done them both."

Cavan bantamweight John Joe Nevin reached his second Olympics after nudging past tough Mongolian Otgondalal Dorjnyambuu on countback after an 18-18 draw.

Nevin said: "I'm over the moon to reach my second Games."

Flyweight Michael Conlan pulled off another superb win, this time over French second seed Nordine Oubaaali 20-17, to qualify and reach the last eight where he will face Welshman Andrew Selby.

But there was heartache for 17-year-old light-heavyweight Joe Ward and team-mates Roy Sheehan, Con Sheehan and David Oliver Joyce, who all bowed out and will have one more chance to qualify next year.


From Belfast Telegraph