It was a dream come true for Michaela Walsh as she won Commonwealth Games gold amid a dominant display from Northern Ireland in Sunday’s boxing finals.
The nation won an incredible five gold medals across the day, with Dylan Eagleson kicking off the gold rush after beating Ghana’s Abraham Mensah in the morning.
Amy Broadhurst and Jude Gallagher were also victorious, but for siblings Michaela and Aidan Walsh it was an extra special evening as they both took gold after falling short of the top prize at previous Commonwealth Games.
Aidan Walsh upgraded his 2018 Gold Coast silver after winning against Mozambique’s Tiago Osorio Muxanga in the light middleweight final, and it was third time lucky for his sister who had previously won silver twice in 2018 and at Glasgow 2014.
Michaela Walsh capped off an excellent day at the ring for her country, beating Elizabeth Oshoba by unanimous decision in her featherweight bout and the 29-year-old was struggling to hold back the tears after winning gold alongside her brother.
She said: “It’s unbelievable, seeing Aidan winning earlier on, it was hard not to get emotional because it’s obviously something I’ve dreamed of for him, but to do it together, there’s no words to describe the feeling.
“Going into this tournament we were just really enjoying the journey, weren’t really putting too much pressure on ourselves.
“Obviously we wanted a gold medal but we said we’d just enjoy the journey and enjoy the moment, take each day as it comes regardless of what side of the podium we’re standing on.
“We wanted to enjoy it and that’s what we did, we came away with the gold medals.”
Michaela Walsh became the second woman from Northern Ireland to win a gold medal in any boxing event, being superseded by her team-mate Amy Broadhurst only hours earlier.
Broadhurst also won by unanimous decision in her flyweight fight against England’s Gemma Richardson, and insists the historic moment will stay with her forever.
“It’s incredible and I’ve made history as well in being the first female boxer from Northern Ireland to win Commonwealth gold medal for boxing,” Broadhurst said.
“For me throughout my career to actually have that behind me and to know I’ve made that sort of history is something I’m going to be proud of for as long as I’ll remember boxing.”
Alongside Eagleson, Jude Gallagher also won gold in what was his second walkover result of the competition after his opponent dropped out, but the Walsh siblings both attributed Northern Ireland’s dominance to coaches and staff behind the scenes.
“The success leaves clues as they say and that’s it really,” Aidan said.
“Look at how good we’re doing, it’s crazy and it just shows you how good the coaches we have at home are and it’s just incredible the success speaks for itself.
“To be able to stand here and do what I love everyday, it’s incredible”
— Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland (@GoTeamNI) August 7, 2022
“Great preparation, great planning, great strategies and it’s all paid off.”
“It’s credit to the coaches, and their support staff,” Michaela Walsh added.
“Obviously they’re doing their job right, but I have full trust in the team and I listened to everything they said, I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“If they told me to do a backflip in the ring, I would do it.
“I’ve put my full trust in them and they’ve been, I’ve been with the coaches for many years and just the trust we have in each other is amazing.”
Northern Ireland have seven gold medals in this Games, with five of those coming from the boxing and the Walshes hope that this can inspire the next generation of boxers back home.
“The medal doesn’t define who you are as a person,” Aidan Walsh said.
“I just want to be a good person and if it inspires younger people coming through and anything I can do to help people, again it’s your values as a person.”
Michaela Walsh added: “I hope we can inspire a lot of young girls and fellas to start the sport.
“I have a baby niece who’s only one and I wanted to show her to never give up on your dreams, to keep going.
“When she’s older, hopefully she can watch back on that and anything she wants to achieve, hopefully she can go and do that.”