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In The Irish News - Oct 5 1996: Massive rent rise could force The Mac out of boxing gym

Belfast boxing legends John Caldwell (Immaculate) (left) and Freddie Gilroy (St John Bosco)

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THE Housing Executive may give west Belfast’s Immaculata amateur boxing club a chance to dodge a massive rent increase – if it wishes to buy its premises.

In 1990 the Immaculata club was moved to a purpose built gym in Ardmoulin Place, Falls Road, from its old premises in the Divis area.

Redevelopment work in the Divis area forced the club to move and now, the site lease having expired, a decision has to be made about its future in the area and in the sport.

Yesterday club officials met with Housing Executive representatives to discuss the inevitable increase in rent on the commercial premises on which the gym is situated.

The club had been paying rent of around £750 per year since its move to Ardmoulin Place, the same rate as its old premises.

However the club now faces paying an annual rent charge of around £8,000.

The HE is not believed to be demanding an immediate decision from the club as to whether it will stay and pay the massive rent hike or actually purchase the club.

A spokesman said yesterday that the HE would give “favourable consideration” if the club were interested in purchase of the Immaculate Gym

Also known as the ‘Mac’, it is one of Ireland’s most popular gyms and boasts Olympic medallists John Caldwell and Jim McCourt in its roll of honour.

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ANTRIM make two changes from the side which defeated Armagh last weekend for this clash with the Ernesiders.

Jimmy Wilson’s dismissal against the Orchard men means a call-up to the half-forward line for Cargin’s Dermot McPeake.

The other change in personnel sees Lamh Dhearg’s Brendan Elliot replacing Randalstown’s Stephen McVeigh in the full-back line.

John Morrison has also opted for several positional switches – the most pronounced of which is Pat McShane’s move from corner-back to right full-forward.

A Fermanagh victory this afternoon won’t make up for the relegation play-off reverse to the Saffrons earlier this year.

But it would make the Ernesiders feel a lot better. Unlikely though.

Antrim: B Devlin, B Elliot, M Mulholland, B McCann, A Hannon, T Connolly, G Adams, C O’Neill, E Quinn, D McPeake, C McCabe, D Hardy, P McShane, L McCurdy, K Madden.

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DERMOT Donnelly leads the Northern Ireland challenge in tomorrow’s British Athletics Federation 10K road race championship in Birmingham.

The Annadale man, who is said to be confident of performing well, will be joined in the NIAAF team by John Tracey (Ballydrain), Greg Luke (North Belfast) and Donal Gallagher (Sparta).

Coventry athlete Glynn Trommans and Basildon’s Eamon Martin are among the favourites for the title but Donnelly should finish comfortably in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Annadale Striders, who will include Jim Campbell and Tommy Hughes, should win their 16th Larne Relay title in a row this afternoon. The race will comprise of six two mile legs.

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PAT Hickey was reappointed as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland after a two-hour meeting in Jury’s Hotel in Dublin last night.

Hickey saw off the challenge from David Balbirnie by 27 votes to nine and will now serve his third successive four-year term.

Amidst criticism that he has held the post too long, the 51- year-old confirmed that this will be his last term in office.

Hickey was believed to have some serious explaining to do to the Executive last night, largely concerning his handling of matters at the Atlanta Olympics and the way Sonia O’Sullivan was dragged into a sponsorship row during her races.

Although Hickey has hung on to power, it is thought his credibility has emerged somewhat damaged from this campaign.

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