A BRIGHT FUTURE
Fr. Flanagan Boxing Club opens in Blessington
‘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.