An extremely large entry into the 2012/2013 National u18 championships last weekend saw the first session of boxing on Friday last take the full seven hour shift to complete. Seventeen Mayo boxers, a combination of both male and female, weighed in on Friday morning. Two female boxers added a pair of additional titles to the 32 already won by Mayo boxers this season. Lycia Heneghan (Ballinrobe BC ) and Kathy Higgins (Ardnaree BC ) were successful in their attempts to include national titles on their records.
Hopes were high among the Mayo supporters that Lycia Heneghan could go all the way in the competition and lift her fifth national title. Heneghan went a long way in keeping their hopes alive when she looked very impressive disposing of Erin Walsh (Tramore BC ) in the semi finals. The Ballinrobe boxer had a cagey opening round and got to know Walsh’s style and was content to finish it 1-1. Heneghan began to open up in the next round and went three points ahead 5-2. Explosive punches from the multi national champion saw her take a commanding lead of 9-4 with one round remaining. Scoring at will in the final two minutes Heneghan finished 15-6 in front.
Kathy Higgins (Ardnaree BC ) was the most outstanding boxer of the Mayo contingent. Weighing into the 75Kg category Higgins was drawn against Niamh Folan (Conamara BC ) and stepped into what can be a daunting ring in the National Stadium for her first contest of the entire season. Down 4-3 and 8-6 after two rounds the Ardnaree girl went from two down to two up inside two minutes of boxing in the third. Jabbing like a pro and picking off her opponent beautifully Higgins gave Folan a standing count in round three and finished the round 11-9 to the good. Full of confidence in round three the Ardnaree boxer piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the four rounder and came away with a brilliant victory and a place in the 2013 National final on a score of 19-12.
On Sunday at 10am the female finals commenced. First between the ropes and representing Mayo was Lycia Heneghan, and attempting to stop her taking her fifth national title was Lauren Hogan (St Bridget’s ). The Mayo girl got off to a good start and was on double scores of 4-2 at the first bell. Heneghan punched with considerable power and caught Hogan with hard clean blows to body and head, it was no surprise when the scoreboard read 8-3 at the midway stage of the bout. It was just a matter of how many scores the Ballinrobe girl would win by after the third finished 14-6. Mayo boxers had their 33rd title when Heneghan had her hand raised on a tally of 19-10. Kathy Higgins was the next Mayo boxer on the programme and she did not disappoint. A cautious first two minutes saw Higgins return to her corner and coach Pa Murray on a score of 3-3. The very cool and collected Higgins upped the tempo in the second round and it showed on the scoreboard, edging in front 10-8. Good advice from her coach in the corner gave Higgins the ammunition she needed for the third round and she did not disappoint her large group of supporters, improving with every round under her belt. A five point advantage at the beginning of the final round (15-10 ) was enough for Higgins and her second national medal was on the way to her cabinet. Higgins finished the bout on a score of 22-18.