Both men scored comprehensive victories in their quarter-final bouts, Barnes winning 8-1 without ever being troubled by England’s Tommy Stubbs and Donovan scoring a 10-4 verdict over Hungary’s Miklas Vargas.
Barnes secured the medal, along with a place in the semi-final and the chance to fight for gold, with a near flawless defensive performance.
The Belfast man controlled the fight from the bell, defending calmly and picking off his opponent with powerful and precise shots.
He claimed a 3-0 lead in the first round and consolidated that in the second by picking off another point to be 4-0 up and in total control after two rounds.
Stubbs changed tack in the third, aiming his shots at the body and keeping up a frenetic work-rate for the first half of the round. But the Englishman’s work was of inferior quality and it deteriorated as the round wore on. Barnes was once again easily able to pick him off at will.
The Holy Family clubman finished in style, landing some quality shots in the final round, although Stubbs finally scored a point with 20 seconds to go.
Barnes will now have the chance to add gold or silver to the bronze medal he won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Donovan also secured his semi-final spot with an impressive display, catching his Hungarian opponent with a series of impressive straight lefts and taking the verdict by 10-4.
The St Michael’s Athy boxer went into the lead with two such shots in the second half of the first round and despite taking a standing count when caught by a right uppercut in the closing seconds, he finished the round 4-1 ahead.
Donovan continued to catch his shorter opponent in rounds two and three, exploiting his reach advantage and bringing his right hand into play as well, as he became increasingly confident.
A fine left in the final round emphasised his superiority and though Varga landed three more shots, the Irishman took the verdict comfortably in the end.
The third Irish fighter to box in Wednesday’s quarter-finals was John Joe Nevin and he was ultimately well beaten in his bid to reach a semi-final.
Highlights of all the Irish quarter-finals, including Tuesday’s bouts, can be seen in a special OB Sport on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie at 7pm
Yesterday, Ireland’s boxers claimed three bronze medals from a day of pulsating quarter final action at the 2010 European Senior Championships in Moscow.
Ken Egan, Darren O’Neill and the new kid on the block, Tyrone McCullagh are all guaranteed podium positions at the Ice Palace.
Both boxers were tied at 6-6 going down the final stretch, but O’Neill, the current European Union champ, snatched victory from the jaws of a count-back with a tremendous right in the final two seconds
Egan, meanwhile, added to his impressive CV with a 7-4 win over Ainar Karlson, a kick boxing specialist in his native Estonia. Egan boxed well within himself in this light-heavyweight clash to add the the European bronze he won in Bulgaria in 2006.
Donegal prospect Tyrone McCullagh got the day off to a positive start for Ireland with a 6-3 verdict over Azat Hovhannisyan of Armenia.
The Illies GG club-man was leading 4-1 going into the final round of this featherweight encounter and added another two points to his tally to seal a deserved win.
John Joe Joyce, who moved up to welterweight from light welterweight this year, had to be content with a last eight finish after losing out to Taras Shelestyuk of the Ukraine.