August 9th, 2012...

Every Irishman (and woman, I hasten to add) who is old enough to remember Italia '90 can tell you where he (or she) was when Packie Bonner saved the penalty and David O'Leary scored the decider against Romania that put the Republic of Ireland through to the quarter finals of the World Cup.

That was 22 years ago, and now Ireland has a sporting hero(ine) for a new generation:


Katie Taylor from Bray, Co. Wicklow - Irish, European, World (4 times) and now Olympic Women's Lightweight Boxing Champion, this remarkable young woman has won every prize there is to win in amateur boxing and has been instrumental in the sport having become an Olympic event.

Ireland's flag bearer at the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, Katie Taylor joins a long line of Irish boxing medal-winning Olympians but is unique (so far) in being the only woman.

Yesterday, she beat long-time rival, Sofya Ochigava of Russia, to win Olympic Gold and see her country's flag raised to the sound of Amhrain na bFhiann, while a crowd of up to 10000 visiting and expatriate Irish supporters sang proudly.

She will come home to Ireland to be met at the airport by, well, everybody, after which the 45-minute trip to her home town (it will be an open-top bus) will take about 5 hours.

That's not to take away from the achievements of the rest of the Irish team, in particular the boxers, who at the time of writing are guaranteed a silver and two bronze medals, with the possibility of that silver becoming gold for John Joe Nevin of Mullingar if he can beat Luke Campbell of Great Britain in his final bout tomorrow.

But for now, at the end of (as they say) the day, Ireland belongs to Katie.

I wonder what she'll do next?

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