Kickboxer Donna Larkin is the latest from Galway to claim an All Ireland crown.
The 27-years-old overcame Kilkenny’s Ann-Marie Bergin to win the IKF All Ireland light welterweight title at the "Seasons Beatings" kickboxing tournament in Galway’s Black Box Theatre on Saturday.
In a battle, which she describes as an “out-and-out war”, Larkin secured the title by a split decision after the fight went the full championship distance over five rounds.
It was a hugely satisfying result for the Galway Black Dragon fighter who has contested three All Ireland titles - two of which were for this particular belt - before finally claiming the ultimate glory.
Larkin, who works at the Galway Advertiser, began her kickboxing career nine years ago, and regards this victory as the most satisying to date.
“I have been trying for so long - since my first title fight three years ago. It’s been like a millstone as everyone I have trained with has won title fights. Hopefully now I have done it, I will be able to progress on from here and hopefully contest a European title,” she says.
Saturday’s bout against the Kilkenny woman was a bloody and bruising battle for which Larkin was well prepared.
“I had never come up against her, but she had fought in our gym before. In her last fight she stopped her opponent after just 40 seconds in the first round so I was prepared for her.”
However there were some anxious moments for Larkin after the fight was initially declared a draw before two of the three judges sided with the Galwegian.
It is a deserved reward for Larkin in her first fight back since suffering a back and hip injury last year. She began training in September, which also included two weeks training in Thailand.
“I have to defend the title twice before I can keep it and I know a rematch might be on the cards sometime next year.”
Meantime Larkin is taking some time off to enjoy Christmas and becoming an All Ireland title holder.
The Galway Black Dragon club posted nine wins, a draw, and just four defeats in Satuday’s tournament.
Full results: Martin Murray (Galway ) v Danny Burke (Kilkenny ) - winner Burke by decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-28 ); Shane Canavan (Galway ) v Athony Cooney (Thurles ) - winner Canavan by decision (30-28, 30-28, 29-28 ); Feidhlim Dunne (Galway ) v Dylan O’Connor (Lismore ) - draw (29-29, 29-29, 30-30 ); Emmet Bohan (Galway ) v Chris Coyle (Donegal - winner Coyle by decision (30-29, 30-30, 30-29 ); Niall Sheerin (Galway ) v Shane McConnell (Waterford ) - win Sheerin by decision (30-28, 30-28, 30-27 ); Amy Wilson (Galway ) v Lindsey Doyle (Dublin )- win Wilson by decision (30-27, 30-28, 29-30 ); Denis O’Connell (Galway ) v James Cahill (Lismore ) - winner O' Connell by decision - (30-27, 30-28, 28-29 ); James Ward (Galway ) v Patrick Butler (Kilkenny ) - winner Butler by decision (30-30, 28-30, 28-29 ); Nikki Collins (Galway ) v Chloe O’Brien (Waterford ) - winner Collins by decision (30-27, 30- 27, 30-26 ); Alex Novac (Galway ) v John O’Shea (Kilkenny )- winner Novac by decision - (29-28, 30-28, 30-27 ); Bryan Merrigan (Galway ) v John Kelleher (Kilkenny ) - winner Merrigan by decision (30-28, 29-28, 29-28 ); Donna Larkin (Galway ) v Anne-Marie Bergin (Kilkenny ) IKF All Ireland Title Fight - winner Larkin by decision (48-48, 49-46, 48-48 ); Gary Manogue (Galway ) v Peter Gutzit (Kilkenny ) - winner Manogue by TKO round 2; Eric Daly (Galway ) v Martin Mainwaring (Wales ) - winner Mainwaring by decision (38-40, 37-39, 39-37 ).