Students get a Taylor-made visit from champion
THURSDAYS are always rest days for world champion boxer Katie Taylor.
But in her usual energetic style, the Olympic hopeful from Bray, Co Wicklow, chooses not to spend her downtime with her feet up watching daytime TV.
Instead, she likes to visit schools and meet students to discuss their boxing ambitions, and yesterday opened a new library at St Kevin's College in Crumlin, south Dublin -- a school with a long tradition in boxing, with one student fighting professionally in the US.
Members of Thin Lizzy attended school there, while actor Gabriel Byrne also completed his teacher training at St Kevin's.
The school's new library is part of the Junior Cert School Programme and is one of only 50 schools in the country that has such a state-of-the-art facility with its own librarian.
Principal Blake Hodkinson revealed that the room transformed into a library was in a previous life the old gym where Phil Lynott did PE and where Gabriel Byrne organised the Christmas variety show in 1974.
Already preparing for the London Olympics in 2012, Katie laughed that she has been getting ready to take part "since I was 10 years old".
"But it'll be constant for the next few years," she added.
She said she was hoping to give the country "a bit of a boost" by taking a medal in the games. "We could do with a bit of good news and that's something on my mind," she added.
As she did a round of the classrooms, her father and trainer, Peter, in tow, the unassuming young boxer greatly impressed the pupils, who were star-struck into a state of temporary silence and gladly distracted from their studies of 'Macbeth' and French grammar.
One young boxing hopeful, who took the opportunity to pick her brains about training, was taken aback when he realised the amount of work involved in Katie's typical week.
"Two hours twice a day, five days a week so I train and rest, train and rest," Katie told him.
"That's a lot of training," he said aghast.
Entering another classroom, she asked was anyone there a boxer. "Peter," came the chorus from the students. Peter Murphy, from second year, who is himself an amateur boxer in a Tallaght club, said he had a match coming up soon.
"Do you expect to win?" asked Katie. "Yeah," he replied shyly and she nodded, pleased for him.