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Loughshore ABC left searching for new home ahead of August 1 restart

Loughshore ABC's temporary home in the garage of coach Michael Mitchell
Neil Loughran
AN ambitious club in Co Tyrone is appealing for help after finding itself without a home just weeks before its doors were due to reopen.

Loughshore ABC has been going for three years, building an impressive reputation in that time, with super-heavyweight prospect Dean Scullion capturing the Irish novices crown and just losing out in the Irish senior final.

There are other top talents on the books too, but last week Loughshore were informed that their premises was no longer available, leaving them looking for a new home in the Ardboe area as clubs prepare to reopen on August 1.

Club coach Michael Mitchell converted his garage into a makeshift gym over the weekend, but knows they need to find somewhere with a ring to secure the club’s long-term future.

“It came as a wee bit of shock to us but look, we just have to try and work out another way forward,” said the Ballinderry man.

“I just couldn’t sleep the other night so I ended up getting up at half four in the morning to start converting the garage, just so we had somewhere in the short-term at least.

“Even though we’re only going three years, we’ve six Irish champions, and as well as big Dean we’ve the likes of Bernie Stokes and Leah Lewis from Ardboe. She’s only 12 but, honestly, I think she’s a special talent. She’s unreal.

“Dean started boxing with me four or five years ago, and our aim for him now is the next Commonwealth Games. We’ll push him for that. There’s ones travel 40 minutes to us, they come from Draperstown, Desertmartin, Moneyglass, Toome, Randalstown…

“I’m hoping somebody comes forward, but it’s very hard. We’d a boy rung us today but it’s down the line, it would be two years before we’d be able to get in. It’s brilliant to get an offer like that but we need something now really. We’re struggling. Without a boxing ring, you’ve nothing.”

Mitchell was quick to heap praise on all the clubs who have been in touch over the weekend to offer any help they can, and hopes this will only prove a minor setback.

“I still have big plans for the club - my mission for the club is to get somebody to the Olympics.

“I boxed from I was 10 at Randalstown, won two Irish titles, I love boxing. Cross-community is a big thing for me because, in Ardboe, you do Gaelic or you do nothing.

“Hopefully we are able to get something sorted but if anybody knows of anything, just get in touch.”

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