When Lauren Mullally stepped into Rosslare Boxing Club for the first time last September no-one could have imagined the impact she would make.
A quiet, unassuming girl, Lauren was completely new to the sport and had no ring experience whatsoever. But now, just eight short months later, she is an Irish champion, the first in the club's history.
'She came in as a quiet, shy girl in September last year,' recalls Lauren's coach, Austin Codd. 'I worked a little bit with her at the time. But when she came back after Christmas she was a different girl. She sparred with some of our more experienced fighters and really proved herself,' he said.
With rounds under her belt and new-found confidence in her ability, Lauren (12) went to the Wexford County Finals in February, hoping to do both her club and her parents proud. She did that - and then some.
'In the County Finals she stopped her semi-final opponent in the first round and then did the same in the final,' said Austin.
From there the newly-crowned champion progressed straight to the National Finals and a contest with Muireann Bradley, a doughty opponent from Donegal. 'She won it 3-2 on a split decision,' said Austin. 'Lauren had a great first round but then the other girl came out all guns blazing in the second. They went toe to toe in the last round but thankfully Lauren got the decision.'
To mark her achievement, Lauren was welcomed back to the club with a surprise party on Tuesday evening last, a ceremony befitting the club's first ever national champion.
'We were set up four years ago and she's our first national champion, her name will go down in the history books now,' said a proud Austin.
Praising the members of Rosslare B.C. for supporting Lauren throughout her training, Austin said the young fighter's parents have played a pivotal role in her success.
'Her mam and dad can't believe it really, but they've been very, very supportive. Her mam has helped with her diet and her training, made sure her weight has been right for competition.'
For now the Rosslare protege will take some time off and enjoy her summer, but with big competitions coming up, including the prestigious Esker BoxCup in the autumn, and a place on the Leinster Development Squad in the offing, there are plenty of challenges ahead for the Scoil Mhuire pupil.
'She has a great future ahead of her,' confirmed Austin. 'She's probably one of the best natured, good-humoured girls I've ever met, She has a brilliant attitude, never complains about training or doing the work and does everything that's asked of her. We're extremely proud of her here at Rosslare Boxing Club.'