McDonagh settling for nothing other than gold

By Stephen Leonard

IF SETTLING for nothing short than perfection is one of the primary hallmarks of a true champion, then Neilstown Boxing Club’s Winnie Christina McDonagh is surely destined for stardom.

While most up and coming boxers would be thrilled at winning silver on the European Junior Championship stage, for McDonagh the overriding sentiment since she achieved such a feat last summer has been one of disappointment.

Winnie McDonagh 08 compressor

Winnie Christina McDonagh is desperate for a return to the European Junior Championships to fight for a gold she just missed out on in 2019

A gold medal winner in the 2018 European Schoolgirl Championships, the Clondalkin competitor was looking to top the podium again at Junior degree in Romania.

She won three fights en route to the Women’s 63kg Final where she was narrowly edged out by Italy’s Viola Piras on a 3-2 split decision.

Now, with this year’s Junior Championships having been pushed back to August because of the COVID-19 threat, McDonagh is hoping to get the chance to address the nagging pain of just missing out in 2019, even if the tournament has to be run behind closed doors.

“I don’t care, I just want to get back boxing and competing for that gold medal” she told The Echo.

“I’m still raging I didn’t win it last year. I just can’t get over it, I can’t let it go, so I just want to get back competing in those championships.

“I know what it’s like to win and I now know what it’s like to lose and I don’t like it” she said.

Despite the restrictions that have hindered so many boxers, McDonagh has managed to keep much of her training intact.

“I have a gym in my grandad’s shed. I have boxing bags, a few weights and I can skip so I can do most of my strength and conditioning work still” she explained.

“I can still do pad work with my brother Martin. He’s a coach in Palmerstown Boxing Club so all I’m really missing out on right now is sparring” she added.

It suggests that McDonagh could be well placed to really push for that European Junior gold should the championships get the go-ahead.

And should they go the way of so many other tournaments that have fallen foul of the global pandemic, the Neilstown star will turn her attention to the National Under 18 Championships and continental success at that level.

Also poised to travel out with her to the European Juniors is clubmate Joseph Hutchinson who won his National Senior Cadet Championship title back in March, beating Dylan Bradley for the 80kg title.

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