Steven Donnelly was left gutted by the manner of his defeat at the hands of Ray Moylette and little wonder on a weekend when the cream of the Emerald Isle's boxers were let down by poor judging, poor marketing and the failure of the two-night finals experiment for the Irish Elite championships.
Add the introduction of the women's finals and more so the novice contests and it all added up to a weekend to forget. The Irish finals should be the showcase of the year and not a place for novices and it's time the IABA refused to be dictated to by RTE when it comes to the timing of finals.
On Friday evening the National Stadium failed to sell out and in the words of Donnelly's highly respected coach Gerry Hamill there were “only around 200” on Saturday night to witness the second night of the finals.
Light-welterweight Donnelly lost by a wide margin of 10-3 to the talented World Youth champion Moylette, leaving many ringsiders bewildered and All Saints, Ballymena coach Hamill was left fuming. Hamill, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said: “Steven Donnelly never stopped throwing punches from the first to the last bell bar a 20 second period when to his credit Moylette scored.
“But Steven was clearly landing body shots and they weren't being scored in the first round, so we then changed our tactics because he was somehow trailing by three points. Even that didn't seem to help.
“It's ridiculous at this level that they're not scoring body shots. After the fight I asked Phil Sutcliffe, the Crumlin coach, and Mick Dowling who both watched the fight what they thought and they both had Steven winning.
“To only have around 200 people in the stadium is just terrible for the night of the Irish finals.”
Donnelly knows he proved he belongs at this level and this Sunday night he will be part of the Ulster team taking on Italy at Donegal Celtic social club.
Holy Trinity's Cathal McMonagle produced a superb comeback to win the super-heavyweight title with the winning punch in the last 10 seconds.
McMonagle entered the final round trailing 10-5 but then came up with three minutes of the best boxing of his career to draw level at 10-10 before delivering what proved the winning blow.
Also on Saturday night, Cavan's John Joe Nevin didn't have to produce his best to retain the bantamweight title, defeating Wexford's Derek Thorpe 7-5.
Of course, the outstanding highlight of the weekend was Kenny Egan claiming an historic 10th consecutive Irish title, defeating Belfast teenager Tommy McCarthy 8-5 on Friday night.
Egan said: “It was tit-for-tat for a while, and he caught me with one really good shot in the second round, a great right hand, but I was able to shrug it off.
“Of the 10 titles, which felt the best? The first one and this one.
“The second, though, is always the hardest, because you have to prove that winning the first one wasn't a fluke — but I really enjoyed this one.”
Results: 48Kg: P Barnes (Holy Family) beat J Moore (St Francis) 8-1
51Kg: G Molloy (Moate) beat C Ahern (Baldoyle) 6-5
54Kg: JJ Nevin (Cavan) beat Derek Thorpe (St Aidens) 7-5
57Kg: T McCullough (Illies GG Donegal) beat J Fryers (Immaculata) 3-1
60Kg: E Donovan (St Michael's Athy) beat D Joyce (St Michael's Athy) 17-10
64Kg: R Moylette (St Anne's) beat S Donnelly (All Saints) 10-3
69Kg: W McLaughlin (Illies GG) lost to JJ Joyce (St Michael's Athy) 9-12
75Kg: D O'Neill (Paulstown) beat J Quigley (Finn Valley) 6-1
81Kg: K Egan (Neilstown) beat T McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) 8-5
91Kg: C Sheehan (Clonmel) beat A Reynolds (Ballincarrow) 10-3
91Kg+Kg: C McMonagle (Holy Trinity) bt T Sheehan (St Michael's Athy) 11-10
Boxer of the Championships: Eric Donovan (St Michael's Athy).