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Conlan, Barnes lead the way

Olympic boxing bronze medallists Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes will lead a team of 117 Northern Ireland athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.

The pair form part of an 11-strong boxing squad hoping to replicate its heroics from four years ago in Delhi when it accounted for half of the nation's total haul of 10 medals.

The team also includes the likes of Beijing Olympic silver medallist Wendy Houvenahgel and full-bore shooter David Calvert, the most decorated of all Commonwealth Games athletes, who will look to pick up his ninth medal at his 10th Games.

Conlan admits he is driven by the desire to erase the memory of his own Games debut four years ago, when he entered as an inexperienced 17-year-old and was beaten in the first round.

Conlan said: "I went to Delhi thinking I was going to do great but everything went pear-shaped, and the memory of that has driven me on ever since."

Women's boxing will make its Commonwealth Games debut for the first time and Conlan is convinced Belfast's Michaela Walsh can challenge Nicola Adams for the 51kg gold medal.

Conlan added: "Michaela spars at the same club as Paddy and Paddy says when he hits her as hard as he can she just turns around and laughs at him.

"She is a great up-and-coming talent and I really believe she can beat Nicola Adams if and when they fight."


From Belfast Telegraph