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Strabane fighter wins gold at Army Championships

Caroline Connolly

Caroline Connolly

STRABANE boxer Caroline Connolly was in scintillating form in Dublin at the weekend when punching her way to gold in the All Army Female Irish Boxing Championships.

Fighting out of the 75kg category the local fighter faced down the challenge of former Irish champion Kelly Harrington at the National Stadium to lift the much coveted title.

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The victory effectively puts an end to previous murmurs by Connolly about retirement, following issues with the top table of Irish women’s boxing over her age.

After Friday’s gold medal scoop, the 34-year-old is now looking forward to the Ulster Championships in January followed by the All-Ireland tournament and possibly even the World Military Games in 2014.

Last week’s championships were held over three days and look set to pave the way for an official Irish Army women’s team for the first time.

Connolly said she was delighted with her win and was looking to a few more years in the ring.

“As I’ve got older I have got more nervous but it was great to get in there and take the gold,” she said.

“I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep fighting because of my age but it looks like the age bracket is going to be moved up to 40 so I’m delighted with that. From here I’ll be training for the Ulster’s, then the All Irelands and after that it would be great to go on and represent Ireland at the World Military Games,” the Strabane woman said.

For the Ulster Championships in three months time Caroline is hoping to get down from the 75kg category to 69kg. Helping her achieve that has been her coaches at Raphoe ABC and runners and trainers from Lifford Athletics Club.

“Winning at the weekend has given me the ambition to keep going and I have Tommy Stewart, Gary McCullag, Steven McBride and club secretary Peter O’Donnell to thank for assisting me all the way.

“Also Danny Burns and Lifford Athletics Club have been great in driving me on and given me something to aim for.

“Hopefully it continues and I can go that extra mile and make the Irish team for the World Military Games,” she said.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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