SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR GOLDEN GIRL DAINA

MARY FOG­A­RTY MEETS THE 15-YEAR-OLD BRAY SCHOOL­GIRL WHO IS NOW A EURO­PEAN BOXING CHAM­PION

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

DAINA Moorehouse didn’t be­come a Euro­pean Gold medal­list out of nowhere. In her Ju­nior Cert year, the 15-year old has been up be­fore six ev­ery morn­ing to run eight kilo­me­tres be­fore school.

On Sun­day, the Bray boxer won the Euro­pean Youth Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bul­garia.

At 15, Daina was one of the youngest mem­bers of Team Ire­land. She was nonethe­less se­lected as team cap­tain for the championships.

The ris­ing star of boxing is a res­i­dent of the Heather­wood es­tate off the Boghall Road in Bray. She has just com­pleted her Ju­nior Cert at St Kil­ian’s Com­mu­nity School. Her proud par­ents Melissa and John joined her in Sofia, Bul­garia.

She de­feated Ukra­nian cham­pion Vik­to­ria Fab­u­liak last Thurs­day in the quar­ter fi­nal. On Satur­day, Daina faced Rus­sia’s Diana Er­makora and se­cured her place in the fi­nal.

On Sun­day she de­feated Eng­land’s Sim­ran Kaur in the fi­nal.

As well as Daina’s par­ents, her coach Paul O’Toole cel­e­brated with her in Bul­garia. He has trained the Bray girl since she started boxing five years ago.

‘Daina has had a re­mark­able sea­son, not drop­ping a sin­gle round in all com­pe­ti­tions this year and is a credit to her club, county and coun­try. The sky is the limit for her now,’ said Ea­monn Carr of En­niskerry Boxing Club.

‘En­niskerry Boxing Club is so proud of Daina,’ said the club fol­low­ing her vic­tory. ‘She won all of her fights unan­i­mously in Bul­garia and her in­cred­i­ble hard work has paid off. We are so happy for Paul who worked tire­lessly with Daina.’

They said that it was a proud day for her fam­ily, the club and the Ir­ish team for the ath­lete to have cap­tained her coun­try and taken home gold.

At home in Bray yes­ter­day (Tues­day), Daina was set­tling in again af­ter re­turn­ing from Bul­garia.

‘I was over the moon,’ she said on win­ning the fi­nal. ‘It took some time for it to sink in.’

She de­scribed a gru­elling train­ing regime prior to the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘I was up at six in the morn­ing and train­ing that night from seven to nine. It was tough train­ing, but it was still worth it,’ she said.

She worked hard and took on her ex­ams as well as her sched­ule with En­niskerry Boxing Club and the High Per­for­mance Unit. The Ju­nior Cert wasn’t as hard as it was made out to be, she said.

She fell into boxing by accident, com­ing along to col­lect her brother Michael from train­ing five years ago. She took to it straight away. ‘Over the years I be­gan to love it,’ said Daina.

She had made great friends in the club, and on the Ir­ish team. Her friends from school have been send­ing mes­sages of con­grat­u­la­tions, and she will spend time with some of them over the com­ing weeks. Paul has given her some time off be­fore they get back to train­ing. She’s been on the go for months, if not years.

‘She had no break re­ally,’ said Paul. ‘She’s had the Le­in­ster championships, the Ir­ish championships, then we had the cadet championships, and she’s boxed for Ire­land. She’s a busy girl and she has earned her time off.’

They do have their eye on the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, but for now it’s one step at a time. The youth Olympics will take place next year, and be­fore that the Le­in­sters, Ir­ish and Cadets. Daina is too young for the World Championships in the com­ing year.

She’ ll be back in High Per­for­mance train­ing in three weeks. ‘She’s worked un­be­lie­ve­ably hard,’ said Paul. ‘She’s a very tal­ented young girl. She has it all. She’s a very good girl for lis­ten­ing and she does what she’s told.’

They work well together and you can see the mu­tual re­spect that Daina and Paul have for one an­other.

Dad John is a very proud fa­ther, and her mother Melissa said that they were both thrilled when she took gold in Bul­garia.

‘Any time she’s in the ring, that’s all that’s in your head – oh God, make her win,’ said Melissa. ‘She gives it her best shot ev­ery time. She loves it and she’s so ded­i­cated. Her coach Paul is bril­liant with her. He puts a lot into Daina and she puts a lot into him. The two of them are great together.’

Her par­ents thought when she took up boxing it was a great past-time for her, they never thought she would be­come such an ath­lete so young. ‘As she pro­gressed over the years she just be­came re­ally good. We were just amazed. She started win­ning ev­ery­thing, and it brought her to the Euro­peans.

Daina’s fa­ther John was a boxer and her brother Michael boxes in the same club. He was out for a time due to a shoul­der in­jury. Michael also plays foot­ball and is just back from Barcelona with Ardmore Rovers.

Five years ago when Daina walked into En- niskerry Boxing Club she was, as Paul O’Toole de­scribes, ‘a tiny lit­tle thing’.

‘Ev­ery­one knew from the first night she had a spark, she had that foot­work. She was al­ways there and never missed train­ing. She’s just an amaz­ing young girl, I’m so proud of her.’

Daina’s granny Mar­garet Fitz­patrick said that Daina is ‘just bril­liant’ and that she’s a lovely young girl who al­ways has a nice man­ner and never grum­bles. ‘ She’s worked very hard,’ said Mar­garet, who was visit­ing along with Daina’s cousin Becky Wil­son.

‘I think she’s go­ing to go far, I re­ally do.’

EV­ERY­ONE KNEW FROM THE FIRST NIGHT SHE HAD A SPARK, SHE HAD THAT FOOT­WORK. SHE’S JUST AN AMAZ­ING YOUNG GIRL

Euro­pean cham­pion Daina Moorehouse back at home in Bray with her dad John Moorehouse, mum Melissa O’Brien and brother Michael Moorehouse.

Daina with her coach Paul O’Toole.

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