Northern Ireland

Tributes for boxers Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes

Conlan arrives
Image caption Belfast boxer Michael Conlan had to settle for a bronze medal after losing his flyweight semi-final.
Fight
Image caption His tough opponent Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana won all three rounds, with the judges scoring the fight 20-10 in the Cuban fighter's favour.
After the fight
Image caption Afterwards, his coaches were on hand to offer a few words of comfort.
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption His fellow Belfast fighter Paddy Barnes will also have to be content with a second Olympic bronze
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption He suffered an agonising defeat by China's defending champion Zou Shiming in the light-flyweight semi-finals
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption The judges scored the contest 15-15 after three rounds but Zou was given the verdict on countback
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Trailing 11-8 after two rounds, Barnes produced a huge effort in the third and appeared to have done enough to win
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Ireland's John Joe Nevin has qualified for the bantamweight final
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Mullingar man Nevin produced a classy performance to beat Cuba's number one seed Lazaro Alvarez Estrada 19-14 in the bantamweight semi-finals
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Twice world bronze medalist Nevin won the first round 5-3 and he bossed the remaining two rounds to complete a 19-14 victory
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Barnes' contest was a far closer affair and the countback margin couldn't have been closer with Zou edging it 45-44
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Irish team member Barnes, 25, was beaten 15-0 by the Chinese fighter at the same stage in the Beijing Olympics four years ago
Paddy Barnes v Zou Shiming
Image caption Barnes and Conlan are among the five Northern Ireland medal winners at the London Games

Stormont's sports minister has said there is "plenty to celebrate", despite Belfast boxers Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes missing out on Olympic finals.

Both men had to settle for bronze after losing their semi-final bouts.

"Any feeling of disappointment is more than overshadowed with a real sense of pride," said Carál Ní Chuilín.

"In securing a bronze medal, Michael can take his place among the best boxers in the world, and continues the proud legacy of Irish boxers."

St John Bosco club-man Conlan was beaten by Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana in Friday night's flyweight semi-final, with the judges scoring the contest 20-10 in favour of the Cuban fighter.

Barnes suffered an agonising defeat by China's defending champion Zou Shiming in the light-flyweight semi-finals.

The judges scored the contest 15-15 after three rounds but Zou was given the verdict on countback.

The two fighters have been engaged in a lighthearted Twitter spat after being pictured with some of the biggest names at the games.

After his quarter final victory Conlan said: "I just want to point out I got a picture with Serena Williams tonight and he (Barnes) didn't get none."

He was also pictured with former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis, who he referred to on Twitter as "wee Lennox". Barnes had been pictured with Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Usain Bolt.

Ms Ní Chuilín said: "It has been a mixed day for Irish boxers with John Joe Nevin securing a win and Paddy Barnes losing by the narrowest of margins. But, with Paddy also earning a bronze medal, there is still plenty to celebrate.

"Our boxers have once again shone on the global stage - proving to be ambassadors for their sport, their communities and themselves."

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