A sizeable Donegal connection made their way to Dublin airport this evening to hail their hero, Jason Quigley from the Finn Valley Boxing Club who has returned from Minsk as a European Champion.
There were marvellous scenes in the arrivals lobby at Dublin Airport shortly after 7.30pm when the flight from the championships touched down, and as our picture shows, Jason and fellow gold medal winner, John Joe Nevin had plenty to be pleased about.
Donegal’s sports fans had two great reasons to be proud this weekend, when Stranorlar boxer Jason won European gold in Belarus and Donegal’s hurlers won their first Nicky Rackard Cup title with a thrilling defeat of Roscommon in Croke Park.
Quigley, the 22-year-old rising star, triumphed over top seed Ievgen Khytrove from the Ukraine in the semi-final and went on to defeat the No. 2 seed, Romanian Bodgan Juratoni in the final. He won the first and third bouts, with scorelines of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. The boxer’s father and coach Conor Quigley was not in Minsk, as he was unable to get a visa in time. He said of his son’s victory: “He’s mentally very, very strong and he proved it today. He became a triple European champion today.”
Despite finishing with fourteen men in a nail-biting game, Donegal came through to win 3-20 to 3-16. Team manager Ray Durack said: “I have to admit this is the proudest day of my life, to have managed a Donegal team to win an All-Ireland on Croke Park. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life and I’m sure the players will too.”
* See tomorrow’s Donegal People’s Press and Donegal Democrat for extensive coverage.