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Michael O'Reilly - How Great Were His Chances Of Taking A Medal?

Michael O'Reilly - How Great Were His Chances Of Taking A Medal?
By Conor Neville Updated

The 23 year old middleweight Michael O'Reilly was hotly tipped to take a medal for Ireland before today's turn of events.

A gold medal winner at the European Games, he was highly fancied to take a medal with Sports Illustrated tipping him to win a silver medal in Rio.

A member of Portlaoise boxing club, he is coached by fellow Laois man Pat Ryan, who also serves as President of the IABA.

His qualification for the Olympics was a tangled and controversial affair. He finally only secured qualification two months back. He was the eighth and last Irish boxer to qualify for the games after winning his bout against Azerbaijan’s Shinebayor Narmandakh in the Olympic qualifiers in Baku.

Last year, he lost an Olympic box-off in controversial circumstances against Egypt’s Hossam Hussein Abdin the previous October.

In April, he and fellow boxer Dean Walsh were sent home from the EUBC qualifiers in Turkey for a breach of team protocols. Both fighters were fined €5000. It was proposed that the two would face box-offs for spots in the last-ditch Olympic qualifiers in Baku in June.

However, this was cancelled in curious circumstances and both fighters were taken into camp with the men they had beaten in their respective national finals, in order to allow the coaches determine who merited a place on the plane to Rio.

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O'Reilly was chosen and subsequently won against Narmandakh in Baku. A medal seemed a distinct possibility. But the events of Thursday seem to have scuppered that.

As it stands, O'Reilly has the right to appeal and ask for a B sample to be tested, though will be unable to compete while the appeal process is ongoing.

Read more: Michael O'Reilly Confirmed As Irish Boxer Who Reportedly Failed Drug Test

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