Friday 23 March 2018

From The Stands: Minister lands vital blow to aid boxers

Sports Minister Michael Ring
Sports Minister Michael Ring

Jerome Reilly, Pat Coffey, Seán Ryan and Fergus McDonnell

SPORTS Minister Michael Ring has kept his promise to improve boxing facilities for the next generation of Katie Taylors.

The Minister of State confirmed a special grant of €975,000 on Friday to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, primarily aimed at boxing clubs. Most of the allocation, some €750,000, will be used to improve clubs around the country, and in particular facilities to accommodate female boxers.

About €150,000 will enable the IABA to purchase equipment for clubs, while €75,000 has been specifically earmarked for upgrading work at the National Stadium.

"Some boxing clubs operate in facilities which are in relatively poor condition and lack basic facilities," said Ring. "I want young people joining boxing clubs to be able to train in decent, fit-for-purpose facilities with good dressing rooms, showers, toilets and heating."

It's terrible to think there are still places where this doesn't happen, but at least over the last few years we have been moving in the right direction.

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IRISH schoolboys going on trial to Britain was traditionally the preserve of soccer, but now, thanks to the success of players like Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan and Niall O'Brien, it has spread to cricket.

In recent weeks, promising Irish schoolboys have been over with a number of County cricket clubs, as non-contract players. Jack Tector, who is with Glamorgan, has the blessing of the Irish Cricket Union, while parental support has obviously helped Stuart Poynter, Peter Chase and Barry McCarthy (Durham), Mark Adair (Warwickshire) and Stuart Thompson (Sussex). It will be interesting to see if there is another Joyce or Morgan there.

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Sixty years ago, on July 4, 1954, West Germany won its first World Cup after an unexpected 3-2 win over Hungary at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne. A fascinating seven-page article in this month's History Today magazine looks at the event and the national and international reaction to that success, which came just nine years after the end of World War II.

The win has been credited as an important step in the rehabilitation of Germany after the war and was summed up by a German phrase that translates as 'We are somebody again!'

However, reaction around Europe was not so positive and newspaper reports linked German sporting success with resurgent nationalism. Le Monde even used the word 'Achtung' in a headline and the Danish journal Information said 'all that was lacking at the final whistle was the Sieg Heil'.

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English racecourses are used to playing host to personalities from the world of football with Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Sir Alex Ferguson amongst the big names who enjoy a day at the races.

Yesterday Newmarket was introduced to a different type of footballer when NFL star Wes Welker turned up to see his horse Undrafted run in the July Cup. The Denver Broncos wide receiver has appeared in three Super Bowls but hasn't enjoyed the best of luck, losing each time.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Undrafted, named because Welker found himself in that situation when the 2004 NFL Draft came around, was ridden by Frankie Dettori and finished fourth behind Slade Power in yesterday's Group One sprint.

At least Welker has the consolation of his $12m Broncos contract to cheer him up.

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WHILE a lot of attention has been focused on the transfer of Luis Suarez from Liverpool to Barcelona, US basketball has been coming to terms with the news that LeBron James is returning to Cleveland Cavaliers, four years after he left his hometown team to join Miami Heat.

And the figures are staggering. James' contract is the maximum the Cavs can offer - $88.1m over four years which means he'll make $20,644,400 next season and receive a $928,998 raise each year. Nice work if you can get it.

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