A Sligo journalist has described the scene outside the stadium where boxer Katie Taylor won her Olympic gold medal on Thursday as being like around Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.
Austin O’Callaghan, who was covering the London Olympics for BBC Northern Ireland, told the Weekender:
“It reminded me of Jones Road on All-Ireland day. There were hundreds of people looking for tickets and there were even ticket touts over from Dublin.”
He said the Excel arena did really become the Irish venue for the Games. “But nobody quite pulled the crowds like Katie Taylor. The noise level just went up whenever she was fighting.”
He was there for her first two bouts but for the final he gave up on being in the media section to watch the fight on the big screen outside with Belfast woman Alanna Murphy – who fought Katie Taylor in her first ever fight – and the hundreds of other ticketless fans.
Austin said it was a privilege to be at the Olympics but he said that people in Sligo probably saw more of than him.
“I was dashing from venue to venue and seeing bits here and there. I’ve recorded a lot of it to watch it when I get home”, he said yesterday, Monday, as he awaited his flight home.
Apart from Katie Taylor, his other highlight was getting to see the brilliant world record performance of 800m champion David Rudisha from Kenya.
He was also very impressed with the great support that the British public gave to Irish athletes. “Their second team really was Ireland.”