BRACKEN boxers braved the wintry weather to make the long journey to Oughterard in Galway last Saturday as part of their preparations for next weekend's show in Balbriggan's Bracken Court Hotel.A number of their members took part in exhibition bouts, including the likes of Shane Egan, Conor Duffy, Chloe Gray and hard-punching 10-year-old Barney Joyce, while there was an impressive debut performance from Romanian Patrick Pop. Coach Kieran O'Neill enthused: 'Patrick's here in Ireland a few years, but he's two weeks in the game and I can't remember sending someone out so quickly [into the ring]. 'But he's a natural trainer and a natural boxer and he can miss punches by millimetres, and that's not something you can teach. If we can get him the bouts, you'll hear a lot more about him in the next few years.' Credit was heaped on John Moriarty for making sure that the travelling party arrived home safe and well after a difficult journey in the freezing conditions. O'Neill promised 18 top-class bouts on next Saturday's show in the Bracken Court, and it could mark the end of Shane Egan's career with Bracken - at least for now. 'Shane's in the army and he's put in for a transfer to Athlone. He is following his heart as his girlfriend is in Ballinasloe, and so this could be his last appearance in a Bracken vest in quite a while. 'He has given a marvellous contribution to boxing in Balbriggan. He got two gold medals in Denmark, had a marvellous win in Canada last year and was only beaten by two-points in the quarter-finals of the Irish Championships. 'We're sad to lose him, but there's not many 21-year-olds out there in a job and it's nice to see him happy.' It's hoped that Gerard Whitehouse, who travelled to Oughterard as part of the Bracken coaching team, will have recovered from a back injury in time to compete on next Saturday's card. The boxing gets under way at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at €10.