A BOXING club that had to close because of anti-social behaviour has been replaced by a high-performance academy, which is set to benefit hundreds of young people across Munster.
Ireland's Olympic silver medalist John Joe Nevin and team captain Darren O'Neill were in Limerick yesterday to lend their support to the new Southside Boxing Academy.
The new facility, located in the Galvone industrial estate adjacent to Southill, was officially opened by Sports Minister Leo Varadkar.
The academy replaces the defunct Southill Boxing Club, which closed in 2004.
Mr Varadkar said the new facility was a symbol of the regeneration of Limerick.
"Boxing is one of the sports that really can save lives and set young men who are open to disadvantage and vulnerable down a different direction and down a path to success, discipline and self-worth that maybe wouldn't happen otherwise," he added.
Jerry Barry, president of Southside Boxing Academy, who has been involved in boxing in Limerick for the past 35 years, said the opening was the "dawning of a new era".
"The club folded nine years ago, there was a lot of hostilities in the area and we couldn't take responsibility for the kids coming and going," he explained.