The behind-the-scenes battles that are raging in Irish amateur boxing continue to spill onto centre-stage at both National and Provincial level following two high-profile elections over the past few weeks.
New presidents have been elected for Ireland as a whole and for Ulster, but both are disputed and court battles are expected.
Starting with Ulster, the past two months have left the province with two people claiming to be president and two claiming to be secretary
The initial election run on August 13th, in which incumbents Paul McMahon and Sadie Duffy were voted president and secretary, was declared null and void by the IABA.
This was due to a number of clubs being unable to vote due to registration issues. The sitting Ulster council had sought to prevent clubs that affiliated late (after May 31st) from voting. IABA CEO Fergal Carruth looked to overrule this, wanting the deadline pushed back to June 30th, and the IABA Board of Directors eventually insisted the vote be re-run and a deadline of July 31st used.
In the re-run of the election on September 30th, including the late-registering clubs, there was a turnaround. Kevin Duffy was voted president and Charlie Toland took the secretary position.
McMahon has no intentions of surrendering the presidential position and a move toward legal action has been made – but Duffy and co are driving forward and last week made the welcome decision to move the Ulster Elite Senior Championship Finals and Commonwealth Games qualifier back to the Ulster Hall in Belfast.
The date of the finals have been brought forward from Thursday November 16th to Friday November 24th.
The prelims and semi-finals, initially due to take place at the Dockers on the 7th and 9th of November, will now take place in the Devenish Complex on the 15th and 16th of November.
Moving to the national stage, the IABA’s annual convention took place yesterday at the National Stadium.
St Michael’s Athy coach Dom O’Rourke was elected president to replace Portlaoise’s Pat Ryan, but there was plenty of drama in Dublin.
Ryan attempted to end the convention without the announcement of the election results – citing the ongoing dispute in Ulster. During the Ulster affair, Ryan was a supporter of McMahon and Duffy and the early voting rights cut-off.
Chairman of the IABA Board of Directors Joe Christle and IABA CEO Fergal Carruth however insisted that the results were read and O’Rourke was announced the new president.
O’Rourke previously held the position of President of the IABA from 2000 until 2010. Following his tenure as President, O’Rourke went on to serve as Technical Director for the IABA from 2010 to 2014.
The man who has brought through such talents as Eric Donovan, Davey Oliver Joyce, Roy Sheahan, and John Joe Joyce said that “I am honoured to have been elected President of the IABA at this year’s Convention.”
“The sport has undergone a difficult time of late. However, boxing remains Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport and with over 300 clubs nationwide some of which are in the most disadvantaged community the IABA makes a significant contribution to Irish Sport at both community and high performance levels.”
“We are also lucky to have a group of very talented athletes and coaches and the many committed volunteers without whom the sport simply would not happen. I look forward to working with them as well as our CEO, Fergal Carruth and the Board of Directors to unite and strengthen the sport of boxing which is of huge importance to Ireland.”
(Votes in brackets)
Dominic O’Rourke (194)
Pat Ryan (102
Joe Hennigan (129)
Bernie Harold (86)
Anna Moore (76)
Art O’Brien (107)
Antoinette Fay-McClean (95)
Liam Brereton (81)
Larry Morrison (Unopposed)
Stephen Connolly (Unopposed)
Nomination for the Oifigeach Gaeilge
Joe Hernon (Unopposed)
Elected Members of Officer Board
Paddy Osborne (259)
Larry Durand (228)
Philip Rooney (212)
Seamus Dowling (201)
Gerry Storey (193)
Eugene O’Kane (187)
Johnny Carey (147)
Frank Ward (134)