independent

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Tournament a knockout despite Egan's absence

BOXING FUNDRAISER DISAPPOINTMENT AS OLYMPIC HERO FAILS TO TURN UP

Conor CULLEN

Published 04/03/2009 | 10:53

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THERE WAS no Kenny Egan, following his mysterious disappearance, but there was still plenty of good young boxers on show at the Riverbank House Hotel on Sunday.

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Olympic boxing silver medalist Kenny Egan was due to be the star turn at the boxing tournament in Wexford last weekend – in aid of the Special Olympics.

However, it was one of a string of appointments he missed after he failed to show up for Ireland's international amateur bout with the U.S. at the National Stadium on Friday evening, with no-one seeming sure where exactly he was.

Updates, apparently by Egan himself, were posted to social networking site Twitter, which suggested he had left the country. His mother Maura has expressed concern for him, stating that media attention surrounding his personal life has taken its toll.

Francis Keeling, of Wexford club St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's, who organised the tournament, said they knew the writing was on the wall when Egan missed the bout with the U.S.

The Olympic star had featured heavily in their promotion of the event and Mr. Keeling apologised to the crowd at the Riverbank House Hotel for his no-show prior to starting the boxing on Sunday.

'It was a disappointment for us because he had told us he'd come, all he had to do was say no,' said Mr. Keeling.

However, as soon as boxers from the combined forces of St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's, Sacre Coeur (Enniscorthy) and Gorey Boxing Club began their bout with Birtley Boxing Club, one of the best clubs in the North East of England, people soon forgot about who was not there and began to focus on who was – some very talented young boxers.

'They were very well matched fights and the standard of boxing was very good,' said Mr. Keeling. There 14 bouts in all, from schoolboys to youths and juniors to intermediates, with ten of them between the English and Irish boxers.

In the end Birtley came out on top 7 to 3. Mr. Keeling said that they greatly enjoyed their visit to Wexford and are looking forward to playing host to St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's in Newcastle next October.

The well-attended event raised over ¤1,000 for County Wexford Special Olympics and a number of presentations were also made by the St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's Club, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, to people who have made contributions to the local sports scene on the night.

Kevin Murphy Snr. of The Faythe Harriers was honoured for his work with the Wexford hurling club and Bernard Dunne, from Enniscorthy, was honoured for his many years of service as a boxing referee and judge. Christine Walsh, wife of Olympic Boxing Coach, Billy Walsh, accepted a presentation on her husband's behalf, as he could not attend the tournament.

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