Last Friday night was a night that will go down in history for Donegal boxing club Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club. The small club based in the foothills of the Donegal Mountains in Buncrana won big at the Ulster Boxing Council IABA Elite finals.
Two of their boxers triumphed on the night with Cahir Gormley being crowned the 67kg champion and Matthew McCole coming away with not only the 71kg title but was also announced as the Best Boxer of Championship.
Speaking about his win, Cahir said:
“It’s a big win for me. I won schoolboy titles and probably fell short around youth level, but I kept at it, kept working hard and it’s starting to pay off now. I want to be one of the best elites- that’s what I’m aiming for. We’re going to the top, this is only the start of it.”
This sense of determination and ambition is one shared throughout the club. Cahir’s teammate Matthew McCole, who was also victorious on the night, had disappointing performance at last October’s Irish elites, and wasn’t sure whether he had any future in the sport. But with the support of the Illies Golden Gloves coaches he was encouraged to continue competing. Matthew remarks:
“I boxed poor in the last Irish elites, I didn’t know what I was going to do after that. Them boys at the Illies Golden Gloves were asking me to go to the Ulsters and I was like ‘I don’t know’. We got sparring with Aidan Walsh over Christmas but, even after that, I still wasn’t sure. I could’ve taken the easy option, Jon was Irish number two at the weight last year, but I thought if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it the hard way.”
Set up in 1998, Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club’s ambition is not just in the ring but also to develop their facilities for the wider local community. The club approached Community Finance Ireland back in 2016, when they were awarded the finance to purchase their training facilities at the Lisfannon Industrial Estate in Buncrana and to carry out works to make premises fit for purpose as an amateur boxing club.
Mary Nohilly from Community Finance Ireland who works with the club, was overjoyed with the results, saying:
“This is a fantastic result not only for the two lads taking home the titles but also for the whole team behind the scenes who have contributed to their success. A lot of work has gone into developing the club’s facilities to give the young people of Buncrana a place to train in the sport of boxing and these two titles are the result of that work paying off. A huge congratulations and hopefully a sign of more success to come!”
If your sports club has a project in mind, but needs the funding or advice on how to get started, get in touch with Community Finance Ireland today.