Kellie Harrington and Aoife O'Rourke have both added gold medals in boxing to Ireland's tally while Amy Wall became Ireland's first kickboxer to win European Games gold as the games concluded today (July 2) in Krakow, Poland.
Reigning Olympic champion Harrington defeated Serbia's Natalia Shadrina to win 60kg gold by unanimous decision (5-0) on Saturday.
Harrington was down 3-2 after the first round but showed her full skill in the second and third rounds, saying that she "really didn't need the score off the coaches because [she] could hear all the Irish fans in the stands screaming."
"I knew I was up then because I could hear the fans. The Irish fans are the best in the world."
She also spoke about the team looking ahead to the Olympics, saying:
"All those little 1% changes that our team has made, that the athletes have made coming into this tournament has been fantastic. It showed in there with each and every one of them — even the ones who didn't win, they still performed and that's all that can be asked of them, and they're going to get to go again, and I really believe that we're going to have a great strong team going out to Paris in 2024."
Harrington and O'Rourke both secured their qualifications for Paris on the way to their finals.
O'Rourke had something extra to celebrate today as she became European Games Middleweight Champion on her 26th birthday.
O'Rourke won all three rounds of the fight (5-0, 4-1, 5-0) to defeat her French opponent, Davina Myrha Michel. An "over-the-moon" O'Rourke recounted how the crowd cheered and sang "Happy Birthday" as her hand was raised in victory.
"No one mentioned my birthday all day and the minute my hand was raised they were all singing, I think they had a bit of a plan in place. It's a very special birthday for sure and I'm just absolutely delighted."
After the medals ceremony, she added, "I think hearing the national anthem is a great motivator for me anyway. Once you get a taste of what it's like to be at the top of the podium it's something that you want to get back up and hear your national anthem being played. It's a great honour to be representing Ireland, and I'm delighted to have come away with a gold medal and done the country proud."
Michaela Walsh also secured her spot in the Olympics, and a bronze medal, but bowed out in the semi-final by split decision defeat to France's Amina Zidani.
Meanwhile Amy Wall became the first Irish kickboxer to win gold at the sport's first inclusion in the European Games.
The 22-year-old triumphed over Norwegian Mariell Gaassan Straume in the 60kg Full Contact final 3-0, saying after:
"It hasn't really sunk in yet. The Olympics, anything under that banner has been a dream since I was a kid. I'm sure tomorrow I'll sit back and reflect, the emotions are racing right now.
Wall was also selected as the Irish Flagbearer for the closing ceremony, saying:
"I can’t believe it, the emotions are still racing. I’m over the moon. It’s truly an honour to be chosen to be flagbearer at the closing ceremony for Team Ireland. To be chosen to be the person walking in, in front of the team. I cannot wait to take it all in. It’s just crazy, that’s the best word I have to describe the whole experience. It’s all been absolutely crazy, and thanks a million to everyone who has been part of this.”
Jodie Browne and Nicole Bannon both achieved bronze medals in their kickboxing events and will be looking forward to the World Championships later this year.