Bernard Dunne claims he is focused on helping Ireland’s amateur boxers achieve – and not the political warfare that has re-emerged of late.
Just weeks shy of the European Olympic Qualifiers and after months of rumours of in-house IABA fighting, an anonymous document was leaked heavily criticising Dunne’s leadership and the High Performance set-up.
Indeed, the document went as far as to call for the former world champion’s head and demanded he be replaced with immediate effect.
Speaking this week and after Ireland secured its second-best ever number of Olympic boxing qualification places, Dunne avoided the opportunity to fire back, claiming the document and the current in-fighting don’t grab his focus.
“To be honest, I don’t see most of it,” The High Performance Director told RTE.
“My main focus is that the athletes are not distracted by it. My job is to serve them, serve the coaches and to make sure they have all they need to perform in terms of having the right strictures and right processes in place.
“As we have seen out here the team has performed. They have now won 21 international medals in the last two-and-a-half years.”
Not many would have predicted Ireland would be sending a seven-strong team to Tokyo pre the long weekend’s qualifiers, although the background noise and wider issues didn’t feed into a happy narrative.
Dunne always had confidence but did admit there were obstacles to be hurdled.
“I wouldn’t say we exceeded expectations. We came out here with a plan for all our athletes to have an opportunity to qualify. I’m extremely happy for the seven that were successful.”
“It’s been a long journey to get here, they’ve had to show real resilience to keep going throughout the last two years, especially. They have worked hard, stayed driven, and have been focused. I am delighted for the athletes, they have put so much into it. They have got just rewards in fairness to them.”