| 16.8°C Belfast

Gr-eight! Northern Ireland's best day ever at Commonwealth Games

Close

Northern Ireland’s Eamonn O’Kane celebrates after winning his final bout against England's Anthony Ogogo in Delhi yesterday

Northern Ireland’s Eamonn O’Kane celebrates after winning his final bout against England's Anthony Ogogo in Delhi yesterday

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Anthony Devlin

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland poses with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland poses with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Matt King

(L-R) Medalists Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (silver), Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (gold) and Amandeep Singh of India (Bronze) pose during the medal ceremony for the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

(L-R) Medalists Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (silver), Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (gold) and Amandeep Singh of India (Bronze) pose during the medal ceremony for the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Matt King

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Anthony Devlin

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Anthony Devlin

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes celebrates winning gold in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes celebrates winning gold in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes (blue) competes against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni in the light fly weight final during Day Ten of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India

Anthony Devlin

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (blue) competes against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (red) in the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (blue) competes against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (red) in the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Matt King

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland celebrates winning the gold medal after the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland celebrates winning the gold medal after the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Matt King

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (blue) competes against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (red) in the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland (blue) competes against Jafet Uutoni of Namibia (red) in the Light Fly Weight (46-49kg) Men Finals Gold Medal Bout at Talkatora Indoor Stadium on day ten of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 13, 2010 in Delhi, India

Matt King

/

Northern Ireland’s Eamonn O’Kane celebrates after winning his final bout against England's Anthony Ogogo in Delhi yesterday

Northern Ireland enjoyed their greatest ever day at the Commonweath Games with three gold medals, two silver and three bronze to send the team into Delhi delight.

All the gold and silver medals came on finals day in the boxing ring but the pugilists were joined on the podium by shooters David Calvert and Matthew Hall and bowler Gary Kelly as the province enjoyed a day to remember.

Add last week’s cycling heroes Wendy Houvenaghel, Martyn Irvine, Philip Lavery, Sean Downey and David McCann to that list and the total medals haul from the Games now stands at 10.

And for the Northern Ireland team in Delhi, yesterday was a day that will live long in the memory.

Gold medals at last courtesy of our boxers who proudly topped their sport’s medal table — a major achievement in itself.

And leading the way by example was team captain Eamonn O’Kane.

Four years after he almost quit the sport, the Dungiven man stood on top of the podium, after dishing out a hammering to England’s Anthony Agogo, 16-4 in a lopsided middleweight decider.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required


Click to enlarge

O’Kane joined Paddy Barnes and Paddy Gallagher as Commonwealth Games champions on an historic day as the team recorded its best result since they won two gold and two silvers at the 1994 Games in Canada.

The Immaculata club boxer had to wait until the evening session and afterwards said: “I was thinking, can this happen to me? Can this be the day for me?

“It’s a dream come true, I’m a winner and to win so emphatically, I couldn’t have dreamed it.”

The final was as one sided as the scoreline suggests with O’Kane’s experience too much for the ex-Big Brother contestant to handle.

“I’m 28 years old, I’m the old man of amateur boxing here but to everyone who has helped me, driven me, supported me and trained me, and my family and my wife and child who have been there for me and helped me become the boxer I am, I’m so thankful.”

“This is the best day of my career. I can’t believe it and to be captain of this team, can you believe our team, unbelievable.”

It was Paddy Barnes who had once again set the tone for the day. He added the Commonwealth Games gold to his European title and Olympic bronze medal beating defending champion Jafet Uutoni 8-4 in the light-flyweight final.

The Namibian wasn’t going to give up his title easily and had closed to within a point by the end of the second round before the Holy Family fighter charged up through the gears.

He explained: “I always felt I had the fight under control. I took the foot of the pedal a bit in the second round and he caught me with a few stupid shots but even when the coaches told me I was only one up I knew what I could do and he wasn’t getting past my tight defence.”

Barnes became the first gold medal winner from the province in any sport for three Games and the first in boxing for 16 years since Neil Sinclair and Jim Webb both won Commonwealth titles at welterweight and light-middleweight in Victoria. If there was a fighter who epitomised the spirit within the squad it was 21-year-old welterweight Paddy Gallagher.

He’d arrived not wanting to lose in the first round and five fights later was walking off with the gold medal after upsetting England’s Callum Smith 11-6.

“At the end of the second Stephen [Friel] gave me a big slap and said, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ The game plan was to keep nice and tight, stay to his right and slip under every shot because he has a nice jab and good uppercut. I put everything into it. I wasn’t at the top of my game, but I’m very happy with the outcome.”

Light-heavyweight Tommy McCarthy and heavyweight Steven Ward, Northern Ireland’s other finalists, had to settle for silver after their contests.

McCarthy, 19, was beaten 8-1 by Scot Callum Johnson and Ward was on the end of a right hook from the highly-rated Simon Vallily from England.

It knocked him to the canvas with just over a minute remaining in the first round and the referee stopped the fight with the Newtownabbey man already 6-1 down.


Top Videos



Privacy