The club that produced recent a WBC World Youth Champion and one of Ireland’s brightest prospects may be prevented from moulding any future boxing stars.
St Brigid’s BC, the home of Katelynn Phelan among many other Kildare prospects, may have to search for a new premises, or even close.
There are massive concerns with regard to the club generating the finance to stay in their current premises.
St Brigid’s BC was established in 2008 by Paddy Phelan, father of pros Allan and Katelynn, and spent the last 12 years making a name for themselves as a well run club.
They also spent the last 12 years ensuring the premises they took over is worthy for the young of Kildare town to come and learn to box.
“It’s a great premises with plenty of parking and we’ve done a lot of work to it over the years to make it into a real boxing gym with male and female dressing rooms and toilets. It’s a beautiful gym with everything a boxer would need in it. We started with nothing but we built it up over the last 12 years,” Paddy Phelan told the Kildare Nationalist.
Like most clubs Covid -19 has hit Brigid’s hard and at time when things should be booming they are struggling.
“We’ve had massive interest in the club since Katelynn won her World Titles but we’ve had to reduce our classes because of Covid-19 restrictions and we now have smaller classes but we’re there more often. We have outdoor training in the car park at the moment and we using Curragh when weather is good, the Coach tells us.
St Brigid’s BC now feels under threat though from a financial point of view.
“Normally around the 10 December each year we would have held our ‘Night of Champions Tournament’ which was a major fundraiser for the club. It allowed us to cover trips to England etc for tournaments with no expense on parents. It also set us up for Christmas and the party for the kids,” Phelan said.
“I don’t see any tournament taking place this side of Christmas, maybe there will be something in January and maybe we will be able to run our Night of Champions in March,” Phelan goes on.
“We don’t receive any support except through running those little tournaments and subs from the boxers each night. We get no government grants, no lotto funding and so far we have been unsuccessful with other grant applications as well. Punch bags cost anything from €150m to €500, headgear is from €50 to €200 while boxing gloves can cost anything from €20 up to €150.
“We supply everything for the kids, even for tournaments, so that there would be no expense on the parents. Now with Covid restrictions all kids must have own equipment.”
An added worry for the club is the possible implications of the cost of a new lease or licence for the premises itself. “If we lose the premises we will be training in a carpark. Our preference is to stay in this location because of the way we have built it up and because of its size and its perfect location for the town with plenty of parking,” he adds before making a plea for help.
“We need as much help and support as possible, if not financially then through getting behind us and guiding us in right direction. We need to save this boxing club for kids and adults who might be suffering mental health or other social issues.
“We’ve seen tragedy in recent times and without this club kids and adults could be in serious trouble.”