NEWS finally emerged last week that Moate boxer Joe Ward - the reigning Irish and European amateur light-heavyweight champion - will definitely not be taking part at this year's Olympic Games in London.
Late last Tuesday, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) confirmed they received final notification from the Olympic Tripartite Commission that Ward will not represent the country at the London Games.
Instead, the so-called 'wildcard' slot has gone to a Montenegron boxer.
The Farnagh teenager had hoped to be selected courtesy of a Tripartite Commission 'wildcard' entry, though sources within boxing and Olympic circles had warned that his chances of receiving same had been very slim.
Ward was controversially beaten by local fighter Bahran Muzaffer in the final European Olympic Qualifier in Trabzon in April, but fans of Ward had been clinging to the hope that the Tripartite system would give him a reprieve.
The Tripartite Commission was first set up to allow nations with little or no representation in the Olympic Games an alternative route to participation and was based on the principle of universal representation as specified in the Olympic Charter.
As Ireland has six boxers in a team of over 50 qualified for London - five males and Katie Taylor - it's believed the commission's stance was that Ireland and Ward fell outside their main criteria.
However, boxing fans remain somewhat perplexed at how the Tripartite 'wildcard' place was awarded to Montenegro's Bosko Draskovic.
At the 2011 World Championships, Draskovic was eliminated in the second round. Ward went one step further, to the quarter-finals, as did non-Olympic qualifiers, Enrico Koelling of Germany and Dzemal Bosnjak of Bosnia.
Koelling subsequently qualified for London at the final European qualifier in Trabzon, a tournament at which Dragovic lost a second-round bout by ten points to England's Callum Smith, and Bosnjak didn't compete.
Ward lost a hotly disputed second round decision to Turkey's Muzaffer, who went on to win the competition. Given that he is the reigning European champion and had won the prestigious Chemistry Cup just before the Trabzon event, Ward would seem to have had a strong case for the slot.
However, Ward must now refocus his ambitions and concentrate on what still promises to be a fascinating future in boxing.
Ward, whose world ranking has slipped in recent months from three to five is the European senior champion, a title he won in 2011 when just 17 years old.
Ward is the European light-heavyweight champion and ranked number five in the World by the AIBA, while Draskovic is ranked 25 places below.
In a statement issued by the IABA, it was noted that "head coach Billy Walsh is extremely disappointed with this decision".