JASON QUIGLEY performed the official opening of the extension at the Raphoe ABC gym last night.
Quigley, who is on a break at home after going 8-0 in his professional boxing career last month with a knockout win over Michael Faulk, was the special guest as the Raphoe club proudly unveiled their new facilities.
The 460 square foot extension has been added to the club at a cost of €27,000.
“We have moved the boxing ring into the new extension we we have the full run of the hall now for our members,” Raphoe ABC Head Coach Gary McCullagh told Donegal Sport Hub.
“The work was started at the end of last season and it’s great to have it up and running for the new season now. Mike Kelly of Shercloon Developments carried out the work. He’s always been a good supporter of the club so we’re delighted to put something back his way.”
McCullagh paid tribute to Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr – a former Ulster champion in the Raphoe colours – who assisted with sourcing funding for the development.
The Raphoe club is flourishing at the moment with McCullagh and his fellow coaches, Gerard Keaveney and Paul O’Donnell, having 33 senior boxers and as many underage punchers under their wing.
McCullagh said: “ We have big numbers here and it’s great now that we have the space to cater for them all.”
Video courtesy of DonegalTV
Quigley hasn’t forgotten his roots and was only too pleased to assist his good friend and Raphoe ABC founding member Peter O’Donnell.
“I remember the days back to when I was climbing the ladder,” Quigley said.
“I was off school so I was coming in here training during the day. Myself and my father came here a lot and Peter welcomed us with open arms.
“I’ll never forget that. He puts everything into the sport and he’s a real boxing man.”
The Raphoe ABC, formed in 1987, started off in a room above McBrearty’s Bookmakers before moving to the Raphoe Vocational School and then the Marathon Hall.
In 1994, the club started building its new home and in 1998 the doors of the gym was opened for the first time.
The Raphoe ABC transformed old waste ground into a home for the pugilists of the town with the assistance of former TD Paddy Harte.
A 400 square foot extension was added in 2012 to include new changing rooms and showers.
Seamus McBrearty was the club’s first All-Ireland champion and in the early 90s Gerard McGranaghan scooped a schoolboy All-Ireland crown.
The club’s most famous boxer was Danny ‘Boy’ Ryan, the Irish middleweight champion in 1993 who subsequently turned professional.
In May 2014, eleven-year-old Ballindrait girl Cody Lafferty ended a 21-year wait for the club’s next All-Ireland winner, as she won the Girl 1 31kgs title.
This year, Tom Doherty added the Irish Boy 3 90kgs crown to the collection while Eunan McLaughlin was beaten in the Irish Boy 4 57kgs final.
The Raphoe club caters mainly for boxers from Raphoe and the hinterland of Ballindrait, Lifford, Castlefin and St Johnston.
They don’t stand still around these parts. Already, planning permission has been granted for yet more development – the next phase to comprise a store room and a weights room.
The club is set to host English club Tenbury Amateur Boxing Academy for a major international tournament at Deele College on November 7.Tags: