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Donore boxers look forward to new facilities

Dublin City Council have proposed plans to fund a new sports facility as part of the regeneration of St Teresa’s Gardens. The Liberty speaks with coaches from Donore Boxing Club, who will benefit from the proposal.

Donore Boxing Club have welcomed the confirmation of new facilities as part of the St Teresa’s Gardens Regeneration project.  

The club will move from its current home in Donore Avenue. 

However the club told The Liberty there is currently no set date for the move. The club members have recently returned to the ring from an eight-month pandemic layoff.  

 “There’s a lot of great memories at this club, and we’re looking forward to making better ones.”

Donore bc coach stephen fitzgerald

Head coach Derek Rice told The Liberty that they are “guaranteed a premises”, after it was announced that 0.13 hectares could be sold to fund the plans.  

Coach Stephen Fitzgerald said: “We’re very excited. There’s a lot of great memories at this club, and we’re looking forward to making better ones. This facility has done its day.” 

Donore BC’s ring in their current club, on Donore Avenue. Photo: David Seagrave

“We’ve always been too small for the community and the amount of interest. It holds great memories, all the champions going back to the ’80s. Three years ago, we had three Irish champions, and we’re still making memories.” 

With promises of a new facility confirmed, both coaches are hopeful that it will give the club a chance to grow.

The club currently has a waiting list of over thirty people hopeful to join.  

“All the kids in this club are equal,” Rice said. “They’re all treated as champions. Going forward, the club has a lot of potential to fill a lot of kids’ dreams, become champions and box for Ireland like we used to. This club had a really strong hold of boxing. That ring has made many champions.”  

The current home is two conjoined flats, with a small extension added in 2004.

The club “can’t facilitate” new members, despite the current demand, Rice said.  

“It’s too small. It means coaches – who are giving their free time – have to come in an extra three to five hours a week to facilitate for other kids. When we get the bigger club, we’ll have no problem.” 

Demand is not just high in Dublin 8, Rice said, as young boxers from Dublin 12 are eager to join.  

The vast majority of the club’s young boxers returned to train with the recent reopening.

“If the kids want to stay, it’s brilliant,” Rice said. “It’s in your blood. I started when I was seven.” When Rice was done boxing, he was still in the ring as a referee. “I represent the club everywhere I go.”

Fitzgerald acknowledged that the club is crucial in a place and time where young people may have few options and many temptations. “Things have gotten really bad with the younger generation,” he said. “It’s so hard to keep them on the straight and narrow.”

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