St Saviours celebrate a historic milestone

by Gazette Reporter

Spirits were high at the Crowne Plaza Hotel last week when St Saviours Boxing Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special event attended by former members of the boxing club throughout its history, as well as luminaries of the sport including world and Olympic champion Katie Taylor and fellow Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth.
St Saviours has a special place in Dublin hearts, having been one of the longest-running and most iconic clubs in the capital for many years.
Speaking to GazetteSport last week, club secretary Tommy Ahern said that there was a very good reason for the affection for and regard that St Saviours club is held in.
“Gerry Hussey, a psychologist to the Irish elite boxing team who boxed for the club, called it the St Saviours experience.
“The first committee that formed the club handed down a great legacy, a strong foundation that last to this day. The ethos to this day has always been that any fighter, regardless of whether they’re an Olympian or just good enough to box in club shows, the club will do its best to help them reach their potential.
“Not only that, that the most important thing is that they’ll have a happy experience in the club and will always remember days in the club with fondness, and I suppose that is how we survived down the years, by handing on that tradition.”
“My son is now a coach there, he boxed there as a lad, and most of the coaches you find have all come through the club.”
The event at Crowne Plaza celebrated the anniversary as well as history-making boxers with the club, whom Ahern identified.
“We have had Stephen Collins, who was the only Irish man to win a world title at two weights, at middleweight and supermiddleweight. We have had Dean Murphy, who won nine Irish titles, the only one that he didn’t get was the senior title. Keith Boyle was the first Irish boy to win a medal at the European and World Cadet world championships in the early 2000s.
Cathal O’Grady was the first Saviours’ fighter to box for Ireland at the Olympics at Atlanta in 1996, and was also the first to win gold at the European junior championships. The first woman world champion Deirdre Gogarty boxed and learned her trade with us. We have made a few milestones indeed over the years.”
One part of the celebration tinged with sadness will be the absence of Olympic medalist Darren Sutherland. Ahern remembers with fondness the boxer who passed away in 2009.
“The kids who were there when Darren was at the club will never forget it. He would walk in and the place would light up. His smile was infectious and kids would gravitate toward him. He would tell them to train harder, and they would look up to him, and not just boxing-wise, he was such an inspiring presence.”
Ahern explained that the anniversary was reflective of the way that the club has gone about being a beacon in the community through the years.
“In any walk of life, to celebrate 50 years means you are doing something right.
“There might be fallow years in terms of winning titles, but we still motor along. The kids are still there training and enjoying themselves, the titles are a bonus.
“Everyone wants success, but to us success is not just about producing champions, it’s when the members have a good happy experience and memories of being in the club.”
With an eye on the future, Ahern wrapped up our conversation looking to the future: “As soon as the celebration is over, we will start to get our heads together and see what we can do to make ourselves bigger and better.
“If you had seen the club we started out with, to where we are now, we’ve come a long way.”

Related Articles