Ireland enjoyed an Olympic hat-trick as boxer Michael Conlan secured a bronze medal at the very least – just hours before Katie Taylor returns to the ring.
Belfast youngster Conlan, an Olympic novice at just 20 years of age, survived a bruising encounter with Nordine Oubaali of France to make it to the semis.
The Falls Road kid is guaranteed a bronze medal at the very least after joining Taylor and John Joe Nevin in the quarter-finals.
And Nolan, the youngest member of Ireland’s triumphant boxing team, is adamant there is more to come.
He declared: “You haven’t seen the best of me yet. It was a hard fight, I started slowly but soon stepped it up.
“I just had to be patient and not lose my cool. It was a tough first round and I was delighted to be level at that point.
“I’m not a medallist just yet - until they actually hang it around my neck. Then we’ll see what colour it is.”
Hundreds of fans packed Conlan’s local pub in Belfast, the Beehive, to cheer him on.
His trainer at St John Bosco boxing club Gerard McCafferty told the Irish Sun: “Everyone has just been buzzing. I’ve no doubt now that he can go all the way.
“From the very start when he qualified for the games he talked about nothing else but a gold medal.
“He won’t tell you that, he keeps himself to himself. But that has always been his game plan — at the back of his mind he’s heading for gold.”
Friend Alicia Cosgrove, 21, said: “He’s just the best, we’re so proud of him.
“He has had his mind on going over and doing this and winning and it’s just brilliant that it has worked out for him.” Danielle Smyth, 20, said: “He totally deserves victory, all the way. Proud isn’t the word, it’s just fantastic.”
Conlan will now take on Cuban teenager Robeisy Ramirez in Friday night’s semi-final.
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