PORTLAND Row in Dublin’s north inner city is awash with green, white and orange in advance of Kellie Harrington’s early-morning Olympic fight which could see her guaranteed at least a bronze medal.
he bunting and flags are everywhere, and the good luck cards and messages in the windows of Ms Harrington’s home show just how proud everyone is of their Olympic hero.
However, because the 31-year-old will be stepping into the ring to take on Algerian Imane Khelif in the early hours of the morning, it means locals won’t be able to go to a pub to watch it.
And as Ms Harrington’s father Christy explained, even a gathering in a community centre would not be feasible due to Covid restrictions.
“We’ll all just watch it at home I suppose, but the feeling on the street and in the area is electric. Everyone is really excited and into it and it’s brilliant to see. It’s magic. I don’t know where it all came from but it’s great,” he told Independent.ie.
“It’s amazing. You just can’t explain it. I have two weeks off work now so I’m really looking forward to seeing Kellie in action.”
He will watch the bout with his two sons Aaron and Joel. His other son, Christopher jnr, is in Iceland.
Mother Yvonne doesn’t watch her daughter’s fights live because she gets nervous. However, she tends to stay nearby and judge the reactions of her family.
One couple who will be watching are Jimmy and Marie Fox who, along with nearly everyone else on the road, have hung out the bunting for their local hero.
“We’ve known Kellie since she was a child and she used to be in and out of our house. There’s a brilliant atmosphere on the road and hopefully she’ll come home with a medal,” said Mr Fox.
“Even if she doesn’t get a medal she can come home proud. She’s a great ambassador for the street, for Dublin, and the entire country,” said Ms Fox.
Around the corner, on Summerhill Parade, there is plenty of talk about Kellie Harrington in the Bridge Tavern.
The owner, Liam Gifford, has also known the Olympic boxer since she was a child, and says support for her in the area is very strong.
“She’s a little gem for the area. I remember her going by as a kid. Everybody is just proud of her, and the fact that she’s from Portland Row,” he said.
On a wall in the pub are photographs of Ms Harrington and other boxers from the area, such as Christy Elliot who competed in the 1972 Olympics.
Kellie Harrington’s bout is scheduled to start at 4.35am Irish time on Tuesday morning and will be shown live on RTÉ Two.
She has been in Japan for a month now, between training and fighting in the heats to get to tomorrow’s medal fight.
“She can’t wait to get going. She just can’t wait. Kellie is in good form, she’s sound as a pound and just wants to get on with it now,” said her father as another car drove by the house with the horn beeping and the driver waving out the window.