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‘I didn’t think I’d box again’ – Emotional Dearbhla Rooney delights in Senior Success

Dearbhla Rooney turned pain into power and used it to fuel a brilliant boxing comeback.

The Sean McDermot’s boxer put her name back on the fight fraternity’s lips by winning the National Senior Championships at 63kg title last weekend.

It was the first time the Manorhamilton native was seen at the stadium since she celebrated under-18 success five years ago.

After a season in which European and Olympic youth medal wins saw her nominated for RTE Young Person of the Year, Rooney took time out to focus on her studies. What was meant to be a break for the Leaving Cert carried into college before COVID ended any 2020 return hopes.

An injury suffered in a car crash then threatened to turn a sabbatical into retirement, as Rooney thought she’d never box again.

“I stopped in my Leaving Cert year, then I went to college and had to work, then COVID came and then I got injured,” she tells

“I didn’t think I would be able to box again after the injury. I crashed a car and I did the ligaments in my knee and my ankle,” she adds before revealing being told she ‘can’t’ drove her to prove she can.

“That only made me all the hungry to get back.”

The all-round sports star, who has been a mainstay of Glencar/Manorhamiltonā€™s recent four-in-a-row of Leitrim LGFA senior club football titles, not only got back into the ring she loves, but celebrated success on Dublin’s South Circular Road -and it meant a lot.

“I was getting a bit emotional, it’s a good feeling, definitely,” she adds.

“I came back to get fit, get in shape and get back to enjoying sport and boxing again. It wasn’t really about the result today but the win does mean a lot. You can’t beat fighting here.”

Now having reacquired a taste for titles the former underage international wants more. Rooney will enter the Elites and hopes it starts a path back to an Ireland vest.

“I’d love to fight for Ireland again. The drive is there. Give me more time and let me get back to match fitness and I think I’ll be capable of that.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years