A BRIGHT FU­TURE

Fr. Flana­gan Boxing Club opens in Bless­ing­ton

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

‘THERE is an Ir­ish cham­pion in this room some­where, there could be a Se­nior cham­pion in this room, there could be an Olympian in this room, but it’s about the ded­i­ca­tion and the dis­ci­pline, not cut­ting cor­ners, sac­ri­fic­ing ev­ery­thing for the sport that you love’. These were the words of Olympic sil­ver medal­ist Ken­neth Egan when he was speak­ing to the crowd at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Fr. Flana­gan Boxing Club in Bless­ing­ton last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Egan was joined by Athy’s Eric Dono­van and IABA CEO Fer­gal Car­ruth as spe­cial guests at the well-at­tended event that sees the Bal­ly­more Hol­ly­wood Boxing Club and Bless­ing­ton Boxing Club unite un­der the name Fr. Flana­gan in a bid to con­tinue the great work done over the years by both clubs.

‘I want to wish you the very best of luck with the amal­ga­ma­tion of the two clubs and I hope to see Ir­ish cham­pi­ons com­ing out of this club, and Olympians and Euro­pean and world box­ers,’ added Ken­neth Egan who re­ceived a rap­tur­ous ap­plause when he fin­ished.

Athy’s Eric Dono­van, Euro­pean bronze medal­ist and mul­ti­ple times All-Ire­land cham­pion, spoke elo­quently at the event and wished all at the new club the very best.

‘I have no doubt in my mind that this col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Bal­ly­more Hol­ly­wood and Bless­ing­ton boxing clubs will have a tremen­dously pos­i­tive im­pact on the com­mu­ni­ties for years and years. When great minds come to­gether spe­cial things hap­pen. I think with the peo­ple, the coaches, the chair­per­son, ev­ery sin­gle per­son in­volved in this Fr. Flana­gan Boxing Club, whether you’re sweep­ing the floors, tak­ing the names as the kids com­ing through the door, ev­ery sin­gle per­son is a valu­able as­set and it will not work un­less ev­ery­one pulls to­gether,’ he added.

Gerry O’Neill in­formed the crowd at the Fr. Flana­gan Boxing Club about the background to the club’s name.

‘Peo­ple do ask where did you get the name? He was an Ir­ish­man, born on the bor­ders of Roscom­mon and Gal­way, he went to Amer­ica as a young man. He founded Boys­town, which was a home for kids. The rea­son we picked up on the Fr. Flana­gan name was that part of his dis­ci­pline was the in­tro­duc­tion of boxing. Through­out his whole life he was a coach for Boys­town, that was the main recre­ation and he’s well re­mem­bered in Omaha in Ne­braska and we have a panel on the wall there in re­mem­brance of Fr. Flana­gan.

‘I’m de­lighted with the turnout. When we moved in here in 1981 you could ac­tu­ally walk straight in as there was no doors or win­dows, it was in a bad auld way. But we kept it go­ing and now we have a strong club here,’ he added.

Full re­port in­side.

Gerry O’Neill, Eric Dono­van, Euro­pean bronze medal­ist, Michael Gill and Ken­neth Egan, Olympic sil­ver medal­ist at the off­i­cal open­ing of the Fr. Flana­gan Boxing Club.

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