It has won 77 national titles, from schoolboys to senior, since its formation 19 years ago. It has 109 members with 200 more waiting to join.
Now Clonmel Boxing Club, one of the town and county’s most successful clubs, is looking for a permanent home.
The club has invested €70,000 on a site in Elm Park but has been frustrated in its attempts to secure funding to build a clubhouse there.
Since 1995 it has rented the former St. Oliver’s church/community building. “We pay rent to the Waterford Regional Youth Services and they’ve been very good to us but the building is unsuitable; it’s cold and damp without any changing rooms or showers and a leaking roof. These poor conditions won’t allow tournaments to be held. Other clubs are unable to visit or train, thus reducing the promotion of boxing and involvement in sport and more importantly the further development of our own boxers”, says chairperson Martin Fennessy.
Thanks to €10,000 funding from Clonmel Borough Council, €10,000 from the County Council, €10,000 from dormant government accounts, €25,000 from the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) and €15,000 from its own funds, the club purchased the site 5 years ago. With a further €15,000 available from its own funds the club needs €141,000 to build the clubhouse. “All we need is a frame, we have all the equipment and in time we’ll provide showers and changing rooms”, says Martin Fennessy.
However two applications for National Lottery Funding under the Sports Capital Grants proved unnsuccessful in 2008 and 2012.
“We need the key players in town to come together and make a concerted effort to help us achieve our goal. It’s a shame to have spent €70,000 on a site and see it lying idle”, he says.
So far the club has raised €5,200 from its Buy a Brick campaign launched some months ago and the Joker Poker promotion running in Kate Ryan’s lounge-bar is another source of revenue. However it costs in the region of €20,000 to run the club each year.
“We know times are tough but clubs all over the country have received funding and the funding we’ve received - €55,000 over 19 years - has been minimal”, says Martin Fennessy.
The club’s achievements, both in the ring and within the community, were recognised at a reception hosted by Mayor Pat English last week. Last month Clonmel’s Con Sheehan (who has represented Ireland at European and World Championships) won his sixth national senior title when he defeated clubmate Dean Gardiner in the superheavyweight final in a contest screened live on national television.
Tipperary is the only county with a boxing club that has no clubhouse - an unwanted distinction that the Clonmel club is anxious to shake off.