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'I was getting goosebumps!' | Michael Carruth's trailblazing gold in '92

Michael Carruth's achievement in winning Ireland's first ever Olympic boxing gold medal will go d...

'I was getting goosebumps!' |...
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'I was getting goosebumps!' | Michael Carruth's trailblazing gold in '92

Michael Carruth's achievement in winning Ireland's first ever Olympic boxing gold medal will go down in our sporting history.

The Dubliner's victory kickstarted an era of great Irish boxers - the likes of Wayne McCullough, Steve Collins, Bernard Dunne, Kenny Egan and Katie Taylor following the path he paved.

Carruth was placed proudly among the South Dublin Mount Rushmore select on OTB AM earlier by our own Stephen Doyle and Phil Egan, with the calibre of fighter he beat at the 1992 Olympics making his achievement all the more impressive, according to Stephen.

"Ireland hadn't won an Olympic gold medal since 1956 going into the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. We'd gone a long, long time without a gold medal, we'd never won a gold medal in boxing.

"Michael Carruth came from a very humble background in Walkinstown. He was a real local hero in a way. Carruth is one of these people that went and represented Ireland on the world stage with phenomenal achievements.

"He went into that final against the Cuban guy [Juan Hernández] Sierra. Cuba had nine boxers in 12 finals at that 1992 Olympics, they were basically the Brazil of boxing for many years going to the Olympic Games.

"Only two Cubans lost out of those nine finals [in 1992], and one of them lost to Michael Carruth. It was a Saturday morning, I remember getting up to watch the fight with my dad... it's just one of those lovely childhood memories.

"I can still remember him celebrating, I remember him coming home to Dublin, I remember coming out onto the streets to meet him and the reception he got was just incredible.

"He's one of those Irish people, like Katie Taylor, like Pádraig Harrington, people that have achieved success on the world stage that lifted the country, like the Irish soccer team did as well.

"He went on and worked on the backroom team with the Dublin hurlers as well as a masseuse, apparently some of his team-talks were quite inspirational. He was part of that Dublin hurling backroom team that won that first Leinster title in 60 years [in 2013].

"He's a great man, and his Olympic gold medal is one of the greatest achievements in Irish sport."

11 August 1992; Olympic Champion Michael Carruth, holding his gold medal, accompanied by his wife Paula and coach Nicholas Cruz, on board the bus which drove them through the streets of Dublin during the Irish Olympic team's homecoming from the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Phil agreed, pointing out that nothing can be taken away from the magnitude of the opponent Carruth faced in that Olympic final 28 years ago.

"The admiration I have for boxers, what they go through to get themselves ready for these fights... that final in Barcelona, Michael Carruth is going up against Juan Hernández Sierra, who is the world champion at the time.

"He's the Pan-American champion, this is a guy that won more world titles as well. The fact that Michael Carruth beat him... not only is he winning an Olympic gold medal, but he's beating the best to do it.

"They say to win you have to beat the best, but sometimes you could be on the other side of the draw. He's actually taken out a guy who is the best in the final.

"It's a day I'll never forget. My mum is from Donegal so we used to spend summers in Donegal and I remember getting up to watch it. We were sitting in the house and Wayne McCullough had fought that day as well and won a silver medal.

"I was getting goosebumps, you just think back to the moment. It was an amazing, amazing moment for Irish sport."

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1992 Olympics Dublin Gold Medal Michael Carruth Mount Rushmore Olympics South Dublin