Contact training back for Cork boxers again from September 

Contact training back for Cork boxers again from September 
James Power of Fr Horgan's BC in action on his way to claiming a county title at the Cork Boxing Centre in Churchfield earlier this year. Picture: Doug Minihane

THE President of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Dom O'Rourke has this week confirmed to the Cork County Boxing Board that contact training will be introduced from Sunday, September 13.

This is positive news for all clubs as it will facilitate the opportunity for coaches to provide full training sessions for their athletes.

However, the recently introduced Covid-19 restrictions, which allows for only six people to gather indoors, has caused a lot of disquiet amongst clubs.

When O'Rourke was made aware of these restrictions, he informed the Cork Board that the IABA was making representations to the Irish Sports Council.

The IABA President said that he was hopeful following this meeting that changes may be made to allow for higher numbers.

Amongst the units in Cork affected is Ireland's oldest club, the Glen BC. 

Head coach Tom Kelleher said: "We are fortunate to have a big club where groups can train both upstairs and downstairs and independently of each other."

But Kelleher also expressed dissatisfaction saying: "With these restrictions, we cannot allow our athletes to train in these conditions.

"What was the point in having Covid-19 courses and appointing Covid-19 officers for empty halls in Cork's boxing gyms?"

The President of the Cork County Board, Michael O'Brien, said that he was receiving up to twenty calls a day from clubs and confused coaches concerning the issue.

"Cork can only be guided by the IABA nationally, and I am in contact with Dominic O'Rourke regularly regarding these matters," he said.

"To avoid confusion, people in authority need to define clear information points. Proper information is the key to keeping people informed at all times."

O'Brien also stated that they are aware and must endorse full public safety measures at all times, adding "we can understand that clubs are trying to get back to the sport they love."

Another big concern for the County Board is that the longer the Covid-19 restrictions go on that clubs will find themselves in a position where they can't pay their rent or their bills and as a result could lose their base.

Weekly scripts from athletes are the lifeblood of clubs, and this has been lost over the last number of months due to club closures.

"This is a matter for the IABA to address at a national level with the Minister for Sport," O'Brien stressed.

Meanwhile, the Cork Ex Boxers Association (CEBA) met last week before the current Covid-19 restrictions. 

This was an overdue, but timely meeting and many matters were discussed.

The Chairman, JJ Murphy, presided and a lively discussion followed around issues such as Cork boxers of yesteryear.

Apologies were received from Tim O'Sullivan, President of CEBA, who could not attend due to an essential prior engagement.

A group photo of some of the members of Cork Ex-Boxers Association, who will mark their Golden Jubilee in 2021, taken in Bishop Lucey Park in 2014. Picture: Doug Minihane
A group photo of some of the members of Cork Ex-Boxers Association, who will mark their Golden Jubilee in 2021, taken in Bishop Lucey Park in 2014. Picture: Doug Minihane

The get together discussed plans to celebrate next year's 50th anniversary of the CEBA, the golden jubilee of the Association, which is the third oldest in the world.

Paddy McSweeney was elected to the post of President-designate with Tim O'Sullivan remaining on as President and Billy Deasy remaining as Vice President.

The long-serving Dan O'Connell was conferred with an honorary membership and a drive to attract new members was launched at the meeting, and the early indications suggest that at least ten new members will be at the next meeting.

It was reported that the Wexford Ex Boxers Association made a gift of a box of Cork label pens to their Leeside colleagues.

Both groups, Cork and Wexford, have been invited to visit the Taoiseach next October. However, this date may now be changed due to the current climate.

Secretary Martin Coughlan reported on his discussions with City Hall in relation to Bishop Lucey Park.

The meeting was advised that the plaque to the late Maurice Walsh, due to be unveiled on September 12 by Dan O'Connell, has been deferred to a later date.

A full program of activities is planned for the coming year and will be announced at the next meeting.

Meantime, amid all the confusion in relation to the sport in recent times, the Cork Board has received the good news that four new clubs will emerge when activities resume.

"The number is a tribute to the continuous growth of boxing on Leeside and at a time of constant negative news in relation to the current restriction is a boost for the sport and lifts the morale of all involved in boxing in Cork," said Mick O'Brien

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