REPORTS: Bernard Dunne to be appointed IABA High Performance Director

Reports in the national media this week suggest that the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) are on the verge of announcing Dubliner Bernard Dunne as the new High Performance Director.

The governing body have been seeking to fill the role, which has not been held in an official capacity since Gary Keegan’s departure in 2008, in line with the recommendations made in the IABA’s Tokyo Strategic Plan and Sport Ireland’s Rio Review.

The role had been carried out in an unofficial capacity by High Performance Head Coach Billy Walsh up until his departure in 2015. Technical coach Zaur Antia stepped into both roles on an interim basis for the disastrous Rio Olympics and there is a widespread consensus that a specialised High Performance Director is required to allow the coaches to focus on coaching.

In the aftermath of the Olympics, Bray-based Georgian Antia was handed the Head Coach role on a full time basis. High Performance Coach Eddie Bolger however recently departed for a role with the German National Team, leaving John Conlan, Dmitry Dmitruck, and Billy McClean as the remaining High Performance Coaches.

With a Director needed, the IABA called for applicants and have spent the past few weeks interviewing candidates.

Former Irish Rugby manager Eddie O’Sullivan and three-time Senior champion Bernard Dunne emerged as the early front runners, with other American candidates also being considered for the administration and management role.

The Irish Sun however have reported that IABA chiefs are to plump for 37 year old former top pro boxer Dunne, with other outlets following suit over the week.

An announcement is said to be due by the end of the month ahead of Ireland’s participation in the European Championships and, hopefully, the World Championships.

Since retirement, Neilstown’s Dunne has been involved in plenty of ventures, including Irish language work, punditry, writing and presenting his own children’s television show for RTÉ, and four years as performance and lifestyle coach with the Dublin Senior Football team as well as securing a Diploma in Executive Coaching from the Irish Management Institute.

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