Hawkins hails new era with Elite finals set to return to spiritual home
Experienced coach Michael Hawkins hopes tonight will kick off a new era for boxing in Northern Ireland when the Ulster Elite championships start in the Dockers Club.
A new Ulster Council headed by president Kevin Duffy and vice-president Ben McGarrigle have already made a significant impact by bringing the finals back to the Ulster Hall, on November 24, for the first time in almost a decade.
A schism between Antrim and Ulster became toxic in recent years, to the point that many clubs did not enter their boxers into the championships which became diluted to the point of almost being irrelevant.
But a new regime has been voted in just as local boxers prepare to try and qualify to box for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in April next year.
Hawkins has a healthy amount of Holy Trinity boxers entered in the championships, including lightweight Sean Duffy, light-welter Sean McComb, middleweight Caoimhin Hynes and super-heavyweight Stephen McMonagle who all compete this evening.
"The atmosphere is certainly a lot better in the sport now. Even recently at the Belfast Open championships we had officials from all over Ulster supporting it and that was good to see," said Hawkins.
"The great thing is that the finals are going back to the Ulster Hall, that means everything. The memories of the past finals there mean a lot… it's special for the boxers and the coaches."
Tonight: Quarter-finals 60kg: Sean Duffy (Holy Trinity) v Gerard Matthews (St Paul's) 60kg: Callum Trengrove (Spartans) v Dylan Duffy (Pegasus) 64kg: Vinny Esler (All Saints) v Caoimhin Ferguson (Gleann) 69kg: Ross Boyle (Mourne) v Aidan Walsh (Monkstown) 69kg: Eugene McKeever (Holy Family Drogheda) v Gerard French (Clonard) 75kg: Michael Bustard (Monkstown) v Caoimhin Hynes (Holy Trinity) 75kg: Noel Donnelly (Dockers) v Conor Docherty (Emerald) 91+kg: Stephen McMonagle (Holy Trinity) v Dean Scullion (Loughshore)
Semi Finals 51kg: Donna Barr (Illies) v Ceire Smith (Cavan) 52kg: Conor Quinn (Clonard) v Jason McKay (Canal) 64kg: Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) v Matthew McCole (Dungloe) 81kg: Karol Diugosz (Scorpion) v Michael McAllister (Dockers)