Rio 2016: Steven Donnelly's medal hopes dashed as Brendan Irvine also exits
Ballymena boxer Steven Donnelly's Rio medal hopes were dashed as he lost his welterweight quarter-final while Belfast man Brendan Irvine also exited.
Donnelly went down to a split decision against Morocco's current world champion Mohammed Rabii and in truth, the Irishman could have few complaints.
After a tight first round, Rabii took control and one judge's verdict in favour of Donnelly looked dubious.
Flyweight Irvine was outclassed by Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov.
Donnelly, 27, appeared to make a decent start as he forced the Moroccan to miss with several attempted big lefts but Rabii began to find his range and was given the round 10-9 on all three cards.
Rabii set the tone for the second round as he landed with a big overhand right and the Irishman was caught with a number of other decent shots as the Moroccan was given the round by two of three judges.
Another big left from the world champion led to a standing count for Donnelly early in the final round and while the second standing count appeared to be after the Irishman had tripped, the Moroccan had clearly done enough to win.
Rabii was warned by the referee for a clash of heads late in the contest and this appeared to be the reason for one judge giving Donnelly the final round on a 10-8 margin.
"It was a great effort from me against the world champion, I believed in myself and I gave it my all," said Donnelly, who won two previous bouts to put himself on the brink of a medal.
"I'm proud of my efforts here because he's the world number one and I thought I could win, but I'm disappointed not to win a medal."
Irvine, 20, suffered a disappointing Olympic debut as the classy Uzbek fighter clinched a deserved 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 win in the last-16 flyweight bout.
Zoirov was in total control as he took the first round 10-8 on one card and 10-9 from the other two judges.
The Uzbek fighter continued to catch Irvine at will throughout the contest.
London Olympics medallists Michael Conlan and Katie Taylor are the only members of the eight-strong Irish boxing team still involved in the Games.
Medal hopes Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward were among four Irish fighters who bowed out on the opening week of the Games while their team-mate Michael O'Reilly was sent home from Rio after failing a drugs test.
Conlan and Taylor have still to fight their opening contests in Rio.