Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Athy Boxers John and Michael Donoghue

I had intended to write an Eye looking back at past local elections but before I put pen to paper two young fellows, members of Athy’s boxing club, contacted me regarding upcoming boxing tournaments in Romania and Georgia. The two young boys, John and Michael Donoghue, brothers of Ardrew Meadows, are champion boxers at 15 and 16 years of age. They spoke of their achievements in the boxing ring with such understated modesty that I immediately felt their story should be brought to a wider audience. Dom O’Rourke, who is the person largely responsible for the success of Athy’s St. Michael’s Boxing Club, regards the two young Donoghue brothers as high achievers. John, now 15 years old, has won 5 Leinster boxing titles, at all age levels between 11 years and 15 years. He won an Irish national boxing title in 2017 at 29 kilo level and has contested no less than 5 Irish national boxing finals every year since 2015. In that first year he lost the final of the 27 kilo contest on a 3-2 split decision. This was a similar fate which befell his involvement in the finals of 2016, 2018 and 2019 during which period he fought for national titles at 37 kilo and 46 kilo levels. John Donoghue had the honour of boxing for Ireland against Germany in the National Stadium, Dublin. Within the last few weeks he again represented his country when he entered the ring in Cardiff against a Welsh opponent. His older brother Michael, at 16 years of age, has an even more extraordinarily successful boxing career to date. Like his brother, Michael boxes out of Athy’s St. Michael’s Boxing Club and he has also won 5 Leinster titles, as well as 8 Irish national titles at all ages between 11 years and 16 years. The pinnacle of his boxing career to date was his winning of a bronze medal while representing Ireland in the European championship in Russia last year. Recently Michael boxed in Newcastle-on-Tyne, the Northumbrian city which I was visiting at the same time with the Federation of Local History Societies. Our paths did not cross for while I was aware of a local Irish festival in Newcastle where the performer on the final night was Athy man, Kevin Morrin, the presence of an Athy boxer was not known to me. Michael was in Newcastle with the Irish National boxing team in a contest with the English national team. Not only was he boxing for his country, but Michael had the distinguished honour of captaining the Irish team which defeated their English counterparts 9-7. Michael is to travel to Romania as a member of the Irish boxing team for the European championship which I gather starts on May 22nd. Shortly afterwards Michael and his brother John will travel to Georgia representing Ireland in a tournament involving Georgian boxers and boxers from the county of Kildare. In addition to the two Donoghue brothers the Athy club will be represented by Kayle Brennan and Michael Maughen, while the rest of the team will be made up of boxers from the short grass county. John, who boxes at 46 kilo and Michael who boxes at 48 kilo, together with their clubmates, will incur quite a lot of expense in travelling to Georgia in June. As representatives of Athy they deserve our support and Dom O’Rourke and the members of St. Michael’s boxing club would appreciate any financial assistance that can be given to the young boxers. I have written previously of the good work of St. Michael’s boxing club. The club premises at Flinters Field is a wonderful facility for young boys, and surprisingly also for young girls who have taken up the sport. Dom and the committee of the club are pleased to welcome visitors to the club house where training takes place every night of the week. As for the young Donoghue brothers and their boxing club colleagues, who are to travel abroad in June, any level of sponsorship afforded to them would be hugely appreciated. The local Heritage Centre will start the commemorations of the Irish War of Independence with an exhibition opening in June. If you have material relating to those troubled times or know of the existence of any such material Margaret Walsh of the Heritage Centre would be delighted to hear from you. Ph: 00353 59 8633075 Email: athyheritage@eircom.net. The commemorative events which will be held in tandem with the exhibition give all of us an opportunity to honour the memory of those men and women who played a part in securing the 26-county republic.

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