RED ALERT Shannon Sweeney of St Anne’s Boxing Club, Westport, right, is pictured in action against Carol Coughlin of Monkstown Boxing Club, Dublin, during their 48kg bout at the IABA National Elite Boxing Championships Finals in the National Stadium in Dublin last Friday night. Pic: Sportsfile
MAYO boxing had one of its greatest nights on Saturday when two Irish senior titles came back to the county. Shannon Sweeney of St Anne’s, Westport was crowned champion at 48kg and Castlebar’s Bethany Doocey captured the 81kg title at the irish Elite Championships in The National Stadium, Dublin.
One senior title is special, but two on the one night is something else entirely.
Afterwards, the champions spoke to The Mayo News and expressed their absolute delight at the hard-earned victories.
“I still can’t fully believe it,” the teenager from Keelogues beamed. “We never had an Elite champion in the club before and I’m just so happy for everyone else. There are great people here in the club and it’s lovely to see the excitement Saturday night brought.”
Bethany defeated Rathkeale’s Nel Fox on a 5-0 scoreline after dominating the bout from the opening bell, yet she was still nervous when the boxers were called to the centre of the ring at the end for the announcement of the result.
“I knew I should get the result but you never know until it’s called out. When the ref pointed towards me, I was so happy. It was very special and is something I won’t forget in a while.”
The GMIT student only returned to training in recent weeks after Covid restrictions and can hardly believe the trajectory her career has now taken.
“I was doing a bit at home over lockdown but it’s only in the last few weeks that I got back to the club, so this is amazing. I’ve been invited for trials with the High Performance team now, so it’s all very exciting.
Shannon Sweeney was equally ecstatic about her win which secured her second Elite title in four seasons and she was loud in her praise for the support she received in the run-up to her battle with Carol Coughlin from Monkstown.
“The support behind the scenes has been amazing and means so much to me,” said the St Anne’s star. “It was tough in there. I boxed Carol in the 2018 final too and she’s very good, so there was nothing easy.”
Sweeney boxed impressively in Saturday’s final. Her well-timed punches and slick movement caused Coughlin all sorts of problems and every round went to the Westport woman. Now she’s looking towards further adventures.
“I’ve always said my aim was to box in the Olympics, but there are a lot of steps to be taken before then. I may get invited into the High Performance team in Dublin now and we’ll just take it step by step and see where we end up,” the champion stated.
Shannon had serious boxing pedigree behind her on Saturday with former junior champion Martin Brennan in her corner and Peter Mullen, the former Irish senior heavyweight champion, instructing from outside the ropes.
It proved to be a very successful triumvirate with Sweeney’s boxing skills driving her towards a well-earned 5-0 victory over Coughlin.