Fourth Irish title, but at new weight
Dean Walsh turned in one of the finest boxing displays of his young career when winning his fourth elite national Senior title at the National Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.
Having won his previous titles in the light-welterweight division, Walsh set out at the start of the championships to bring the welterweight title - held for so long by The Ballagh's Adam Nolan, who announced his retirement weeks prior to the championship - back to the Model county.
Attempting to rebuild his career following the disappointment of having missed out on the Rio Olympics, Walsh demonstrated that he is not just back to his best, but boxing better than ever, as he unanimously saw off Brett McGinty in a final that he dominated from the opening bell.
Following Nolan's retirement, Walsh, who was finding it difficult to make the weight for light-welter, decided on moving up a weight division. This was confidence-boosting choice as he entered the ring much stronger, enabling him to not alone dominate each contest but to produce a final performance that was so impressive that he also lifted the boxer of the championship award.
With the defection of so many top-class boxers following the Rio Olympics, Walsh is now one of those looked upon to lead his country into the upcoming European championships, where he was a bronze medal winner in 2015, and hopefully on to the World championships.
Walsh (22), asked about his sudden status as a team leader said: 'Yeah it's weird, isn't it. In six months Conlan (Michael) gone, and Barnes (Paddy) gone. Joe (Ward) could have been gone. I think David Oliver Joyce is gone. Katie Taylor gone.
'It's mad because I was the baby along with Brendan Irvine. There was me and Brendan who were just the kids. Now I'm one of the big boys.'
Walsh put in an excellent performance at the home of Irish boxing. Walsh used all his experience to outgun the young Donegal prospect in what was the fight of the night.
A nephew of now American head coach, Billy, he paid tribute to his dad, Donal, for getting his backside in gear after the hurt of not going to Rio.
The all-action boxer said: 'The way things were going for the last eight or nine months, I didn't think I was going to box well. But the plan came together in the final. There were times I just stood there for no reason.
'He doesn't punch hard but he's physically strong. The Olympic qualification failure took it out of me until six or seven weeks ago. I just want to thank my Da because he just kept on pushing me. We fell out every day since. Get up out of bed, train, train, train.
'I fell out with him for the last eight months but it's after paying off. If it wasn't for him, I won'tay I would have packed it in, but I would have been too lazy to train. And I would not have boxed that well.'
Now Walsh after setting the National Stadium alight can look forward to the European championships with a high degree of confidence.