Darndale boxing club's fighting spirit at centre of community 40 years on
Former Olympic boxer Joe Lawlor has paid tribute to the achievements of Darndale Boxing Club, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Joe (49, inset) joined as a 10-year-old in 1976 and has remained active as a coach at the North Dublin club.
"Boxing is great for instilling discipline, keeping fit, and staying mentally sharp," said Joe.
"The club has been a great asset for the young people of Darndale where we have very strong support. Loads of young people have gone on to represent Ireland at international events," he said.
Former member Michael Collins won a bronze medal in the European boxing championships. Today, Dublin Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh will open a photographic exhibition marking 40 years of the club's success in the community. Hosted by the city council, the exhibition will be free to visit for one week at the Northside Civic Centre, in Coolock.
The show will also be on exhibit for a week at the Darndale Belcamp Village Centre from Monday September 21.
The Lord Mayor will pay tribute to the club for being a leading light in the community for over four decades and giving young people a chance to excel in the sport. Joe brought honour to Darndale and the nation in 1988, when he defeated Mozambique boxer Archibald Fausto in his first bout at the Seoul Olympics (pictured right).
The Dubliner was later defeated by the USSR's Timofey Skryabin, who went on to win an Olympic medal.
Joe remembers training with large numbers of young boys in the early years of the club, under coaches Brendan Kane, Mick and Des Cray, Paddy Mackey, and Paddy Fay. The club's current head coach and longest-serving trainer Joe Russell, with his brother Fran Russell, also helped him to succeed.
Darndale is the current holder of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) Best Boxing Club Award and has won the top national award several times.
Its premises are in the local sports and community centre, which is managed by the city council. It continues to contribute immensely to the local community.
The photos capture the spirit, skills and enjoyment of the boxers across the decades and are a testimony to the hard work of the volunteer coaches, mentors and boxers.