Club of the Year – 2016

Boxing isn’t all about bright lights, and it is the clubs where young fighters start out that deserve so much credit.

There are plenty of clubs in all four corners of the island that continue to roll out champion after champion and we pay credit to them, and indeed all 350+ clubs in Ireland, here.

The criteria for our formulation of the shortlist is almost entirely based on Irish titles won this year. Provincial and county titles, as well as other high-profile tournaments were just too numerous for us to sift through and consider.

*Note: For the purposes of this award, the Elite Championships which took place in November/December 2015 are being considered as part of ‘this’ year.

And the nominees are:

Bray BC, Wicklow
Katie Taylor and Adam Nolan both won Senior (Elite) titles in late 2015 and there was also plenty of success for the next generation, with all-Irelands for Kaci Rock, Sophie Earls, and Amy Wall, while Shannon O’Reilly brought home two.

Crumlin BC, Dublin
Phil Sutcliffe’s famous outfit won five Irish titles in 2016, with Tony McGlynn and Leona Houlihan winning Senior (Intermediate) belts. Following on from his two all-Ireland wins, William Hayden went on to win European Schoolboys gold, and there were further titles for Courtney Daly, Jamie Edwards, and Cian Doyle.

Ennis BC, Clare
Perhaps the number one club in the country for big men. Cousins Martin Jim Mongan (3) and Martin John Mongan (2) brought home five titles, with John Sweeney (two titles) and Keisha Attwell also claiming top prize.

Holy Trinity BC, Belfast
The famous club ran by the Hawkins’ brought five titles back to Belfast. The talented Tucker brothers Kane (2) and Jake (1) accounted for three of these, while Barry McReynolds bagged himself two.

Monkstown BC, Dublin
It has been a sensational year for the capital club, with all-Irelands coming in the door from Carol Coughlan, Dylan Doyle, Amy O’Brien, Sara Edris, Saoirse Kearns, Shannon Kelly, and two each from the talented duo of Sean Mari and Matthew Tyndall. In addition, the club also engaged in a special international match at the famous Gleason’s Gym in New York.

Olympic BC, Galway
Young coach Martin Mongan is making a name for himself with some top talents, the perfect example being Gabriel Dossen who won his first two Irish titles and stormed to World Youth Championships in Russia. Big-punching Frankie Cleary impressed en-route to an all-Ireland, while Paddy Cleary, Thomas Donovan, Michael Maughan (two titles), and Michael Delaney (two titles) also brought home top prize.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Limerick
In addition to impressing at the World Youths, Paddy Donovan won two all-Ireland titles. His younger brother Edward also won national honours before going to the European Juniors and claiming gold. More Donovans, John and James claimed additional all-Irelands, as did John O’Reilly, while Kate Daly also took top honours for the Limerick club.

Paulstown BC, Kilkenny
Veteran Darren O’Neill won his sixth elite Irish title at the tail end of last year, while there were more national titles for Brian Mullaney, Nadine Dermody, Page O’Keeffe, and Amanda Coughlan.

Rathkeale BC, Limerick
The Limerick lads brought home plenty of titles this year. Big men Martin Keenan and Cormac Long took top prize at the Senior (Intermediates), while Jason Harty grabbed himself two titles, with further honours coming from Neil Fox, Myles Casey, Thomas McDonagh, Breda Quilligan, and Fiona O’Keefe.

St Brigid’s Edenderry
The place to be for women’s boxing in Ireland, Liam Brereton’s ladies won five titles through Saidhbh Greene, Lauren Kelly, Tiffany O’Reilly, Lauren Kelly, and Elite champ Lauren Hogan, with Jack Crapton also winning an all-Ireland. The club has become a hub for international training camps while Shannon Edge also got the opportunity to fight in front of 10,000 on a Celia Brækhus in Norway.

St Brigid’s Kildare
Another top club for female boxers, Dervla Duffy won a Senior title while young guns Katelynn Phelan (twice), Margurieta Nevin, Aoife Durkin, Kaitlynn Doyle all also took top honours

St Michael’s Athy, Kildare
Dominic O’Rourke’s empire continues to grow, and saw two Irish Elite champions in Moira McElligott, the club’s first female champ, and Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce. A further titles was won by Ned Carthy as well as two apiece for Brandon McCarthy, Michael Donohue and Terry Donohue.

Thurles BC, Tipperary
The talented Tipp club brought home Irish titles through Hugh Doyle, David Doyle, Lisa Delaney, and Shakira Donoghue, before welterweight Conor Ivors brought home an emotional Irish Senior (Intermediate) title last month.

Titans ABC, Galway
Patrick Sweeney brought home two Irish titles, with Edward and Coleman Barrett also taking top prize. Jason Myers was another big winner, and would go on to win European Schoolboys gold in Croatia following his two all-Irelands.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie