St. Brigid’s Boxing Club remains in limbo this week and is “at the mercy of the unknown” as the founder and coach, Pat Phelan, reiterated that it will be business as usual for the club on 2 September.
The club still has all its equipment at the unit in the old Black and Decker centre, Kildare Enterprise Centre.
Over 400 people, including Olympic silver medalist Kenneth Egan, turned out at a rally in support of the club last week. Deputy Sean O Fearghail Fianna Fail, who is part a new committee set up to raise funds for the club, pointed out that St. Brigid’s enjoys tremendious local support and deserved this. “It’s complicated - the whole premises is on the market and ideally we want the club to stay there, either by leasing the unit from the current owner or from the new owner, or indeed buying it. We are going to organise some projects and we expect a substantial amount of money will be needed.”
“There is no doubt that the club is in a precarious position,” said local Fianna Fail Cllr. Suzanne Doyle who is heading up the fundraising committee. “The unit used by the club is ideal for their use - it is on two levels and the boxing ring fits perfectly. It’s like it was purpose built. It would be extremely difficult to get a better premises. We searched and couldn’t come up with single option. As well as being the right size and layout, it also has to be centrally located so the kids can get there.”
Cllr. Doyle added that Pat Phelan is a legend in the town.
“He has really been running a one man show up to now but the community recognises his committment and all that he does for the kids. It must have been a huge burden for him and we decided to set up a fundraising committee to remove some of that burden. It was a very strong issue on the door steps during the recent election campaign.”
The fundraising committee has discussed a number of ideas to raise funds and these will be announced in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Pat Phelan is determined that the current crisis will not impact on the children. “The bank still wants us out but we will be opening the door as planned on 2 September and will take it from there. Ideally though we want to buy the premises ourselves so we won’t ever face this sort of crisis again.”
The club is facing a tough challenge. Pat estimates that they will need about E40,000 to purchase a new home.
St Brigid’s Boxing Club has over 150 members, boys and girls, from ages six years up to adults. There is a strong team of eight coaches involved.
“Most of the kids train twice a week, but we have at least five who will be in the running to qualify for the world championships in China next year. They will want to get in to train at any time. It’s vital.”