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Turkish Delight for Brandon Geoghegan Williams and Abbey Molloy

Brandon Geoghegan Williams and Abbey Molloy secure European medals in hugely successful
year for Sacred Heart Boxing Club in Tallaght.

By Tony Doyle

Walking into Sacred Heart Boxing Club, the Boxers are huddled around coach Mark Hanrahan who is
showing them photos of their new club tracksuit for the busy season ahead.

The demonstration is brief as there’s a night of schooling ahead. Mark and the other coaches will spend the evening drilling some
of the fundamentals into the minds of their young Boxers who diligently put theory into practice.

This writer is lucky to be given time to speak with Brandon Geoghegan Williams and Abbey Molloy who have just won Gold and Bronze respectfully at this year’s European Schools Championships, held in Turkey.

“It was amazing, best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Geoghegan Williams says grinning ear to ear when asked what was it like to win Gold. He’s just turned 14 and racked up an impressive three Irish titles before he stormed to the European gold medal podium, winning all five fights 5-0 on every judges scorecard.

A remarkable achievement for someone competing in their first European competition. He first laced up a pair of gloves at the tender age of 7 after being encouraged by his Mam to join a local club, a fact he doesn’t forget, “I wouldn’t be here without her” he says proudly. This kid is one to watch.

Meanwhile Abbey Molloy (13) has had an incredible year as well. In her first year competing (she lost two years to the pandemic) she won a national cadet title and beat the home favourite from Turkey en route to a Bronze medal. Molloy only entered a Boxing Club for the first time two years ago when she became too old for her football team.

Football’s loss swiftly turned into Boxing’s gain as she had no issues coping with the intensity of an international competition were she fought multiple bouts over a series of a few days “it was all right, no problem” she says calmly.

The popularity of female Boxing in Ireland has exploded in recent years due to the success of Boxers like Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington
and there’s no doubt Molloy has the potential to be one of Ireland’s next female stars.

Boxing can be a lonely sport but there’s a real team spirit in Sacred Heart at the moment. The whole team welcomed the medal winners home home at the airport and the club held a medal ceremony for them in the club which was attended by friends family and the community.

Indeed they could’ve had a third European medal but unfortunately for Harley Sallinger who also won an Irish title this year, his weight wasn’t selected for the competition. However, the way he is progressing they say it’s surely a case of “when” not “if” he stands on the podium of at an international competition.

The club has had a massive turn around in success since the pandemic and when asked about the change coach Jason Kavanagh said the success was down to. “More coaches, they’ve been a breath of fresh air”. He makes an excellent point.

Coaches in the amateur game train boxers on a voluntary basis and as a result are stretched at the best of times however Sacred Heart currently boasts a roster of seven trainers. Tommy, Robbie S, Jason, Mark, Adam, Robbie W and Darren are there night in night out playing an integral role in the Boxing Club and helping give the community a huge lift.

Before leaving the team to resume their training session I ask what’s the ambition for the season ahead,“more medals” Jason, Brandon and Abbey all reply confidently. It would take a brave person to bet against them.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years