Clann Naofa: Ladies Taking Over

August 15, 2016

“In every Boxing Academy you must feel fortunate when you have a gifted fighter, but to have two great fighters at the same time is unbelievable,” says Jim O’Neill, Head Coach of Clann Naofa Boxing Academy in Dundalk.

The two great fighters to whom Jim is referring are Crossmaglen’s Shauna O’Callaghan and Evelyn Igharo from Muirhevnamor, Dundalk.

Evelyn Igharo (14) is a 4-time Irish Champion and All-Ireland Schoolgirl Champion. She is on the brink of international stardom having recently been awarded the Best Prospect in Ireland by the Irish Governing Body of Boxing at a recent event held in Dublin.  The teenager has achieved victory in 23 bouts, both at National and International level, which is a huge achievement for one so young.

“Her speed of hand, her superior foot work and her brilliant boxing mind set her apart from the rest of the competition,” Jim says.

Her club colleague Shauna is a European Silver Medal winner and 6-time Irish champion.  She has gained an international reputation since her stunning victory over Chloe Watts, the English champion and European silver medallist.  Watts had to retire after the first round encounter with Shauna in the Ireland vs. England Girls International last year.

The Crossmaglen girl entered the Open Cadet Championships as the youngest fighter at 15 years old, and went all the way to the final where she met Shannon Reilly.  Shannon is the stable-mate of Katie Taylor and looked the favourite, but lost out with a unanimous decision (3-0) to Shauna.

At the World Championships which were held in Taipei, China, Shauna was the youngest fighter on the Irish team. She got to the quarter-finals where she met a seasoned fighter with 75 wins and 2 losses in international fights and, on this occasion, unfortunately lost to a split decision.  However, Shauna persevered and was rewarded when she won her silver medal in Hungary at the European Championships.

Shauna is once again on the European gold trail, having come through the All-Ireland Senior Cadets Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin.  Showing her fighting ability was still the best in Ireland in the Girl 5 60kg, she reached the semi-final by beating Nadine Demoly in the semi-final bout by unanimous decision.  In the final bout of the Girl 5, Shauna fought Aoife Gintey from Geesala, Co. Mayo in a three round match that she dominated from bell to bell.  Never looking too troubled, she stayed focused, not giving an inch to her opponent who could do nothing but back away.

Never mind Crossmaglen’s fighting men, this is Crossmaglen’s fighting woman.  Shauna has the spirit, ability, determination and heart of Crossmaglen.  To say the least, Shauna O’Callaghan is a proven and tested champion and will be ready to claim her second medal at the European Championships.

As much as Shauna has achieved her success through training and hard work, she also has received tremendous support from her hometown of Crossmaglen, Newry and the surrounding areas.

Shauna and the Clann Naofa club thank everyone for their continued support as she heads to Turkey for the European Championships on the 18th September.