By Jonny Stapleton
If like most men when they pass the age of 70 Alan Donnellan becomes inclined to be grumpy 2011 and not the youth of 2050 will be the first thing he chooses to moan about.
However, the unluckiest fighter in Irish boxing is plenty of years off 70 and is in a positive frame of mind in the present. And whilst he predicts he may regal 2011 horror stories to his grandkids he is confident 2012 is a year he will be able to reflect on in a more positive manner.
The Limerick based Galway native was hoping to put himself in Irish title contention over the last 12 months, but had three fights cancelled through not fault of his own. ‘Donny’ admits the experience was disheartening but is claims what’s done is done and is keen to look at the fights still yet to be won.
“In looking forward to 2011 I said it would be the most important year in my development. I lost that year, so in 2012 I must make up the lost ground and also try to forge on,“ Donellan told www.irish-boxing.com. “The cancellations and that are done. 2011 is the year I’ll complain about to my grandchildren. It was a pretty disheartening experience, but right now, in retrospect, it just made me realise how much the sport means to me,” he added.
Donnellan was a little more cautious about his predictions for the upcoming 12 months and understandably so.
“Personally, I’d love to talk about chasing Irish Titles and International opponents, but I feel I’m first obligated to get back and prove that I’m relevant before I start feeling entitled to anything.”
Despite his careful approach the novice light middleweight has more reason to be optimistic than not. He has three fights dates before March and is looking forward to a busy year. He has joined forces with manager Maria Ni Shuilleabhain and couldn’t be happier.
“Ever since I found about the three fights I’ve been smiling. The atmosphere in St.Francis has been really great and that makes it so easy to work and train harder . The installation of Maria as my manager has given me a new enthusiasm for 2012. 2011 was incredibly disappointing, but I genuinely believe that’s in the past now and I can set my focus onward and upward. I already feel that Maria has become a positive influence on my career. With Maria working behind the scene, Ken and I can go to the gym safe in the knowledge that all we have to do is put the work in there.”