Mulhuddart Boxing Academy celebrated their latest milestone last week when Chloe Gabriel took home gold from the European Junior Championships in Romania.
The Blanch native, who fights in the 50kg weight class, beat Russia’s Valeria Linkova to claim the ultimate prize in Galati, one of nine medals Team Ireland claimed at the championships.
Gabriel was one of two Irish fighters, alongside Athy’s Mickey Donoghue, to claim gold, while Ireland also took one silver and six bronzes to place third in the final medals tally.
Neilstown’s Winnie McDonagh took silver following her loss to Italy’s Viola Piras, while an astonishing six Irish boxers lost semi-final bouts to Russian opponents.
For Mulhuddart Boxing Academy, who receive no government or boxing union funding, Gabriel’s achievement is a huge boost after she lost to the same opponent in last year’s final.
Chloe’s trainer in Mulhuddart, Gerard McDaid, was a coach for the Irish team that travelled, which was a bonus for her, but it was all her own work once she got into the ring on Saturday.
“I went myself as a coach, which was a bonus for Chloe, but the Irish team were fantastic,” McDaid tells the Dublin Gazette.
“We finished third in the medals table. We won nine medals in total – two gold, one silver and six bronze.
“It’s absolutely fantastic considering the size of our population in comparison to others, and we come away with nine medals.
“I have to say the future of Irish boxing looks very, very promising. We have a lot of good kids and will have a lot of success in the Olympics going forward.”
The 2024 Olympiad in Paris, or even Los Angeles in 2028, is a realistic target for 15-year-old Gabriel, who is studying for her Leaving Cert in Blakestown Community School.
She had the support of a handful of teachers from the school, which has also produced Ireland Under-16 basketball star Ryan Djoussa, when she returned to Dublin Airport from Romania.
“When we came home to the airport, I think there was about eight or nine teachers from Blakestown to welcome her back, which is rare. You can see how well-liked she is.
“It’s great for a school like that to be producing athletes like that at that level. There must be something in the school.”
McDaid stresses that none of the club’s success would be possible without the support of local company Knife Edge, who provide them with the premises on which all the boxers train.
“I’ve sat down with these guys and we’ve talked about days like this. This is the reason they give us the type of sponsorship they gave us, for days like this.
“It wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t hadn’t got their sponsorship or what they do for us and the community.
“They’re the backbone behind what we do.
“They might not be on the floor, but they give us the means.
“They allow me and the coaches in the club to do what we do on a daily basis. If we didn’t have that type of support, we’d be in trouble.”