The national champions, along with eight of the juniors, have been involved in a high-performance training camp under Billy Walsh recently and, last weekend, were joined by other members of the international squad from some great sparring.
“One could sense there were some old scores to settle and that it was pay-back time,” Billy Walsh said.
“It was certainly the best sparring session I have ever witnessed and I have been involved in boxing for some time.”
Some of the juniors leave for Italy for a multination tournament today. Included is Eamonn Tuohy from Ballycumber from the Moate Club. He became something of a sensation this year when he graduated from the cadets and made it to the finals of the national senior championships.
A bronze medallist at cadet level, he now has his sights set on the European juniors in Poland and could lift a medal. So Italy will be an important assignment for him in pursuit of his goal. He will be joined by Conor Aherne, Cathal McAuley, Pierce Brolly from Derry, Eric Donovan and Deane Murphy.
Eight of the national senior championships will head for a multination tournament in Helsinki next week.
But for the home fans tomorrow night’s clash with Wales will be interesting as the boxers in action will be using this as a stepping stone to next season’s senior championships which will be held in December.
Bantamweight Brian Gillen (Holy Trinity, Belfast) is the only national senior champion in action and he will box the Welsh champion Nathan Probert (Pembroke).
Flyweight Thomas Lee (Oughterard), one of eight runners-up in action, will box the Welsh champion, Matthew Edmonds (Newport).
Patrick Hyland (Golden Cobra, Dublin), a semi finalist in the nationals, meets Darren Edwards (Cwmavon) at featherweight; Garrett Dunne (Neilstown) at lightweight is in against Jamie Evans (Army), and Michael Kelly (Dealgan) boxes the Welsh light welterweight champion, Robert James (Merthyr).
Thomas Blaney (Westside, Dublin), runner-up in the nationals, is assigned to Jamie Way (Cumcarn) who was runner-up, at welterweight in the Welsh championships.
Henry Coyle (Geesala, Mayo) who won the box-off for third place at the nationals meets Aaron Thomas (Clwyd) in a second welterweight contest.
At middleweight, Eamon O’Kane (St Canices) meets the Welsh senior champion, Francesco Borg; Conal Carmichael (Holy Trinity) meets David Tang (Navy) at light heavy; Thomas Donnelly (Mark Heagney, Tyrone) is in against Michael Davis (Penyrheol) at heavy and Martin Rogan (Immaculata) meets Kevin Evans (Carmarthen) at super heavy.
In fact, all but two of the Welsh team are reigning senior champions.