Clonoe Boxing Club going from strength to strength

Pat O'Neill in action for Clonoe in 1974. Pat would go on to win the clubs for national title in 1976.
Pat O'Neill in action for Clonoe in 1974. Pat would go on to win the clubs for national title in 1976.

Coalisland has changed dramatically in the last 40 years.

Buildings have been erected and tumbled, businesses have started and closed and people have come and gone.

Clonoe Boxing Club however is still going from strength to strength almost exactly fourty years since it’s inception.

The club will celebrate it’s anniversary with a top class bill of boxing in Coalisland Parochial Centre on Friday night with an Irish selection fighting a team drawn from the American East Coast.

Long time club coach, Frank Gervin recalls his forty year involvement with the club with a great deal of pride and he’s delighted that he will be around to celebrate the anniversary this year.

“The club was affiliated at the Tyrone County Board meeting in October 1972 and it’s been quite a journey since then.

“Benny McCabe and myself went to affiliate the club that night and from then the club has gone from strength to strength.

Recalling the clubs founding committee and the work they did Frank wanted to pay tribute to all who had been involved for the work they did getting the club of the ground.

“We had a great committee back then. Joe McCabe was the first chairman of the club and the committee was made up of Patsy Taggart, Joe McStravick, Gerry Donnelly, John Pat Herron, Hughie Herron and John O’Neill.

“Our first club was in Annaghmore Youth Club and within a couple of years we had a national champion.”

It wasn’t long before the club was putting itself on the map with countless successes at provincial levels and twenty national titles over the course of it’s forty years.

Having been there at the inception of the club and coached in it ever since Frank talks about the club and it’s history with a great deal of passion.

After spending ten years in Annaghmore, Clonoe Boxing Club moved to it’s present location on the Washingbay Road where it has coached hundreds of young fighters ever since.

Frank still re-counts the successes, the defeats and the dodgy judging decisions the club have enjoyed or endured dating back to the clubs formative years.

The one achievement Frank takes the greatest pride in is that Clonoe produced the first Irish boxer to take a medal home from the World Senior Championships in Munich.

To this day Tommy Corr’s achievement in Munich places him in exhalted company mixing it with some of the best Cuban, American and Soviet boxers of the time.

Corr’s World Championship bronze medal has never been bettered by an Irish boxer, indeed Ireland has only got four other World Championship medallists, the most recent coming from Olympic star John Joe Nevin.

Frank has nothing but praise for the volunteers who have helped him run the club over the years especially those who are in charge of the club at the moment.

Anthony McCrory is now the club’s chairman and actively involved with coaching in the club along with Jamesie O’Hagan and Ronan McCann.

The hard work going on at grassroots level at the club is still bearing fruit with Frank praising all the clubs young fighters.

The club is busy almost every night of the week with boxing training and fitness classes on.

Over the last number of years the clubs service to the community and importance has been demonstrated in the way they have assisted a number of local clubs and groups stage ‘Fight Nights’ to raise funds for their respective organisations.

There would be no better way to show your appreciation for what Frank, Jamesie and Anthony have been doing over the last forty years than to get yourself along to Coalisland Parochial Centre on Friday night.

Tickets for the fight night are priced at £10, with the fighters introduced to the crowd at 8pm and the first bout taking place at 8.15pm.