Offaly kickboxers finish European Championships on a high
It was a long tough week for Edenderry's Team Hurricane members of Team Ireland at last week's World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) European Championships in Gyor, Hungary.
All five Edenderry representatives, Nathan Tait, Leah Grant, Like McCann, Jordan Doran and Brandon Tait fought with great commitment and skill at the highest level in Europe and each one, in turn, reached the quarter-final stage with some great victories along the way.
Luke McCann was first up, coming up against a tough Turkish Fighter, Yusuf Oflu in Kick Light and bowed out in the first round.
In Point Fighting Luke had a big win in the first round beating an Austrian fighter but lost out to Hungarian Patrik Cselovski in the quarter-final by a single point.
In Light Contact Luke did a lot better, tough wins against Italian and Polish opposition got Luke to the semi-final but lost to Eric Zimmerman who went on to win the title but a first medal for Luke, bronze.
Leah Grant had 2 magnificent wins against Austria and Turkey by maximum score before losing out in the quarter-finals to an Italian Carlotta Bonetto on a 15 - 10 score, Leah’s really put it up to the Italian and had a brilliant final round but not enough, first year as a Junior for Leah and a fantastic return to form this year after an injury plagued 2018.
Nathan Tait also had a big win in his first fight beating a Greek fighter by maximum score before losing out in the quarter final to Swiss fighter, Roy Cipriano the reigning World Champion.
Brandon Tait also had a maximum score win versus Belgium in his first fight before losing out against Jack Buckley of Team GB in the quarter final, some contentious refereeing decisions here but Brandon was happy with his performance.
Jordan Doran in Point Fighting lost out to Germany’s Nele Feuer in the quarter final 6 points to 4, Nele went on to win the Gold beating her next 2 opponents by maximum score. In Light Contact, Jordan had a good win in the quarter final against Adna Behrem of Bosnia and Herzegovina before losing a close semi-final to Slovakia’s Karin Derikova who went on to win Gold, a bronze medal for Jordan and she remains World number 1 in this section.
However, the best was yet to come in the Junior Team event, the Team event consists of 4 fighters (3 male and 1 female contestant). The full team selected by National Coach Dave Heffernan was Nathan Tait, Brandon Tait, Luke McCann, Aiden Kerr (CKA), Matas Rancas (BMA), Aoife Bailey (TMA) and Jodie Browne (TMA). A tough draw saw them paired with Italy 2 in the first round but with TMA’s Jodie Browne in fantastic form, anything was possible.
In the end, Team Ireland triumphed 19 to 13 and set up a quarter-final with the top-ranked Hungarian Team, didn't make any difference to this Irish Team though and they won by 6 points 25 to 19. Next up were the Greeks and with the Irish support chanting Ole, Ole, Ole the atmosphere was electric and again
Team Ireland won by a clear 6 points, 18 to 12. On to the final and with Nollaig O’Ceallaigh of Tallaght Martial Arts leading the Irish support the atmosphere was spine-tingling. Of course, it was Italy 1 in the final and it went down to the last second of the fourth fight but the Italians stole it 26 to 25 even after a stewards enquiry but it will last forever in the Team and supporters memories, what an afternoon of action at the highest level. Still a silver medal to end the tournament for Luke McCann, Nathan and Brandon Tait.
It was a very successful week for Team Hurricane’s training Partners, CKA, with the Celbridge crew having a strong tournament. Aiden Kerr finished with bronze in Light Contact and Points plus his silver in Junior Teams, the remaining six, Adam Myers, Nhuy Plunkett, Nicola Basson, Colin Eiffe, Ian Basson and Shane Eiffe all fought well with some fantastic victories and even more important experiences and memories. It was a long week also for coaches Jay Daniels, Claire Brennan and Robbie Cuffe and Referee Darren Tait. Many thanks also to Croi Laighean Credit Union, for the kind sponsorship of the team’s Tracksuits and Fighting Suits and all the businesses from Edenderry and surrounding areas who helped so graciously in the last few months.