Sports

A place to call home

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A place to call home thumbnailCoach Nigel Shelvin, Member Dean Mallon, Coach James McDonald, Coach Peter Madden and Coach Donald Renaghan pictured at the grand opening of Armagh Amateur Boxing Club.

JUST ten months after reforming, Armagh Boxing Club are continuing to go from strength to strength, as they settle in to their new bigger and better premises on Russell Street in the heart of Armagh City.

The club was relaunched back in August 2016 and started out in the Bodyworks Gym on the Loughgall Road and such was the interest in the sport, the club simply had to look for somewhere bigger to go and train the stars of tomorrow.

Head coach Donald Renaghan, who has over 30 years of experience in the sport and has fought at an All-Ireland level and admitted that such was the demand for boxing in the area that they had to look for bigger and better premises.

"We were really encouraged by the numbers when we first opened and interest in the sport seemed to be quite high in the area.

"The nearest club to us is in Blackwatertown and we always thought a club in Armagh could take off and to be honest the reaction from when we first opened has been crazy.

"It got to the stage where we needed to get somewhere with a bit more space and the opportunity came to move to our premises in Russell Street and thanks to the support of the local community and local businesses we have made it our home."

In total the club has over 70 members and they even have a waiting list for prospective members. Donald said they have been overwhelmed with the response.

"We have children coming from all backgrounds and starting off as novices and to be honest some of them are already showing some great potential.

"There are a few kids showing some really good signs of potential and if they keep going the way they are going at the moment then there will be good times ahead for the club.

"We are a cross-community group and we have kids coming from all backgrounds coming in to us and enjoying the sport."

In August the club will celebrate their first anniversary and Donald is hopefully that he and his hard-working team will be preparing some of their fighters for their first competitive contest.

"It was fantastic for us to get up and get the club running and on average we would have 40 people in the club every night we train.

"The way we look at it, we are giving kids an opportunity to come and try a new sport, we are giving them a chance to come in and tread the water and see what comes out of it.

"There are kids out there who maybe don't excel at other sports and we have given them the chance to come in try a new sport.

"Another one of our major aims is that we are keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.

"Our doors are always open and believe me the opportunities are there for them and hopefully towards September time we will start to give young fighters their first opportunity to have their first fight, which would not be long after we reformed the club last August."

Donald has a small but committed and experienced backroom team working alongside him and added that they are always on the look out for new coaches, committee members or anyone willing to lend a hand

Donald works alongside coaches including former European Amateur kick-boxing champion Charlene Creaney, Sports Therapist Chloe Clarke, Nigel Shevlin and Peter Madden.

He also paid tribute to the businesses and groups that helped them make the move to their new premises on Russell Street.

"We have been fortunate to receive support from the Armagh Credit Union, Embers restaurant, the Armagh Roundtable, John Henry tyres, WHR Accountants, Armagh Design and Survey Services, Loughran's Quarries and Adrian Rafferty's AFS Advanced Flooring Systems who helped to supply the new boxing ring and flooring.

"As a group we are always on the look out for support and anyone who can lend a hand and special thanks must go to James and the rest of the committee for how much progress we have made."

Classes run every Monday and Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm for 8-12 years old and 8pm - 9.30pm for 13 years and up.

There is a further training night on Friday at 6.30pm to 7.30pm for 8-12 years old and 7.30am to 8.30am for 13 years up

The cost is 3 for 8-12 years and 3.50 for the older age group.

For more information on the club check out their Facebook page or contact Donald on 07548204206

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