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The Long Wait for a win at the Irish Open Finally Ends

It was so long ago when we had our only winner ( Mick Waters ) at the Irish Open that Alf could not remember when it was, no surprise there to be honest. Since Micks victory, which incidentally was in the millennium year we initially only attended again when the tournament was held in the basketball arena and it was so busy you could hardly move which made the entire tournament unenjoyable for both fighters and spectators alike.

That whole experience resulted in us taking a break from attending for several years deciding to return in 2012 when the event was now in a venue more befitting the size of the tournament ‘The City West Convention Centre’ in Saggart, Dublin.

We have been regular attendees since then only missing out in 2018, due to the severe weather on either side of the Irish Sea due to the notorious ‘Beast from the East’ which caused major travel disruption in both Southern Ireland and England, over the years we have seen the tournament grow where they have had to limit the entries to 4000, during this period that much sought after win had eluded all our top fighters including Chloe Love, Shannon and Tejay Bacon, Charlotte Fagg, Mia Woodward and Kyrah Khan to name but a few.

This year the tournaments organizing committee finally introduced light contact for competitors aged thirteen and above, something we had been asking Roy Baker to introduce for several years. We took a squad of just 6 competitors to the event and were immediately rewarded with Tejay Bacon winning his –47 kilo division in light contact on the Friday navigating the 12 strong category in some style. Patrick Hoyle nearly replicated Tejay’s efforts in his +69kilo light contact division but was defeated in a closely fought final against an opponent who was 15 kilos heavier. Sister Ruby gained a bronze in her category which was a really good effort considering she was the youngest in a division with 15 entries, whilst Harvey Grenfell, our only other competitor in light contact was unable to progress beyond the quarter final stage.


On Saturday and Sunday none of our students were able to get into the later stages in their respective semi contact divisions with all of them going out in the early rounds, however while all this was going on Shannon Bacon was making progress in her Full Contact division defeating her Portuguese opponent on the Saturday in the semi-final,  giving one of her best displays in the last 18 months dominating the fight from the onset.  Her final on the Sunday was a scrappy affair with Shannon’s Irish opponent adopting a spoiling style to prevent her from getting her kicking game going, however Shannon still proved to be too strong a ran out the winner on a unanimous decision giving us our second win of the weekend.

So at last our long wait is over, I suppose it compares to waiting for a bus for so long and then two turn up together, let’s just hope that our next bus is around the corner and not so far away so we are not kept waiting as long for our next success. Our congratulations go to our six on making a really enjoyable trip into a great one despite the snow in Dublin on the Sunday and another interesting ferry crossing on the Monday which in fairness was not as bad as the journey we made in November 2018 going off the sick bag count.

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