Donore Boxing Club promised new premises within five years.

The future of Donore Boxing Club. Credit: Amy Connaughton

Donore Boxing Club in the Liberties has been in its current home in St Teresa’s Gardens since 1972. The club, as it stands, is just two flats conjoined. The building is no longer big enough to hold the 40-plus members.

Dublin City Council’s regeneration plan for the area will mean that St Teresa’s Gardens will be demolished and 50 new homes built. They are regenerating the area, however the sporting groups have not been allocated any new space.

Dublin City Council have given Donore Boxing club a comfort letter and a caretaker’s agreement for another five years with the guarantee that they will have a modern gym built.

“We just wanted something guaranteeing that when the regeneration takes place and the boxing club is knocked down that we’ll have somewhere to go. We are just delighted to get that done and dusted so that we can just focus on the boxing rather than trying to think two or three years ahead, do we have a home?” said Conor Burke, coach at Donore Boxing Club.

The club relies on funding and sponsors to help with the running of the club. The club is sponsored by Donore Credit Union but Conor says that hopefully they get a few more sponsors as they can always do with more funding. They have also received a sports capital grant from the government this year and they are in the process of trying to acquire the funds.

“The money from funding goes towards the upkeep of the place. We’ve tried painting it a couple of times. We have to get a new treadmill which is €4,000 and we need a ring which is €6,500 and then boxing gloves, kits and the tracksuits which are €130 each. Trips away also cost money because we’re going to 32 counties over the course of the season,” said Conor.

Everything is voluntary in the club, from the bottom right to the top but “everyone does it for the love of boxing”, said Conor.

“We can put in an extra couple of days but it’s hard because we have coaches that have other commitments. Being a boxing coach means its 24 hours.”

There are two classes, one for age 10 to 15 and a kid’s class from age 5 to 9. The club does not take on any senior boxers because there is not enough space. The club currently has over 40 members but if they had the space they would easily have 100 members. The classes are €20 a month so it works out as only €1.66 per class and it’s 3 hours a class.

“It’s good for the kids, it’s good for discipline and giving them something to focus on. But there’s only so much we can do because we’re in a two bedroom flat. We don’t like to turn kids away but at the minute we have to,” said Conor.  

Donore Boxing Club has had ten competition boxers this season. Nine of the boxers have won everything and one boxer was only beaten in the final.

Three of the girls and six of the boys won their county championships and won their leagues so they got to represent the club at a national level.

They are looking to get onto the Irish team for their next tournament, which will get them to Russia in August.

“We got our first Irish international boxer last year, Sean Roche, he’s only 14 years of age. Sean went to Romania with the Irish team and got to the last 16 but it’s still just a tremendous achievement just to get onto the Irish team,” said Conor.

Conor said that the hope for the future of the club is to continue the way they have been. They are hoping to get another international boxer and a girl international boxer this year.

“We can only do what we can in the facilities that we’re in at the minute but if we keep going the way we’re going we’ll see multiple national champions every year.”


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