Kevin Duffy looking to the future after being voted in as president at re-run Ulster Council election

Ormeau Road coach Charlie Toland has been elected as the new Ulster Council secretary. Picture by Hugh Russell
Neil Loughran

THERE are now two men laying claim to the post of Ulster Council president after Derry’s Kevin Duffy received unanimous backing at Sunday’s re-run provincial election.

In last week’s Seconds Out, Paul McMahon insisted “I’m not going anywhere” after he and secretary Sadie Duffy were voted in for another term in the original August election.

However, that result was later declared null and void by the board of directors of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA), after over 25 clubs were unable to vote having failed to submit their affiliation forms by the end of May.

And in Newry on Sunday, Kevin Duffy claimed a landslide win, 71 votes to McMahon’s 13, while Charlie Toland received 60 to Sadie Duffy’s 24.

It is not out of the question that the matter could yet end up in court, but Kevin Duffy insists it is the “new Ulster Council” who will now get down to work – starting with next week’s Ulster senior championships at Belfast’s Dockworkers Club.

He said: “Those championships will be facilitated by the new Ulster Council.

“We’ll be looking after the weigh-in and looking after the championships and we hope people respect that, whatever route they decide to go down in the future.”

On the possibility of a legal challenge to the IABA board of directors’ decision to re-run the Ulster Council elections, Duffy added: “We have clear governance lines within our organisation.

There’s a board of directors in place and their number one responsibility is to act at all times in the best interests of our association, and to make the right decisions that promote boxing in the best possible way.

“There are many debates and discussions to be had about how to improve boxing in the country, but I believe they made the right decision in this case.

“If people are unhappy with that decision or want to challenge that, then they’re more than entitled to take whatever route they feel is necessary.

“But, no matter what people’s views are, every one in Ulster was aware this election was taking place. Everyone was communicated to about the decision of the board of directors to re-run the election.

“People have voiced their opinion, and if other people choose to stick two fingers up to the majority of county boards and the majority of clubs who took part in that vote, then that says a lot about where they’re coming from and their views of democracy.”

The situation that has arisen in Ulster is viewed as a manifestation of the split at the very top of the organisation charged with running boxing in Ireland.

And that landscape could be altered again this weekend as the IABA holds its National Congress at the Ringside Club, with former director of boxing Dominic O’Rourke going up against Pat Ryan for the role of president.

Referee and judge Duffy, who is a coach at the St Joseph’s club in Derry, feels the ongoing instability in the IABA is damaging the sport, and hopes the new Ulster Council can help heal relationships going forward.

“People have maybe been frustrated over the past few months in particular with the bigger picture in Dublin, and some of the fractious relationships that seem to be around,” he said.

“We want to try and bring people back together and try and heal some of those relationships, move on and work together for the better of the sport.

“People obviously heard that, and they voted that they wanted something new. We were hopeful going down that we would be successful, given the opportunity for all the clubs to take part in the process, which was absolutely the right decision in terms of democracy and letting people have their say.

“I was delighted with the outcome and, from my point of view, it’s a very clear mandate and a clear endorsement that people wanted change.

“We had a president [McMahon] who had been in place for many years who worked very hard for boxing, and a secretary [Sadie Duffy] who worked equally as hard.

“I enjoyed my time working along with them but it’s important that things do move on, and it’s an exciting time when other people are prepared to put themselves forward and stand up to a challenge.

“It’s a new beginning, but we’re all up for it and we hope to help improve the sport across Ulster and Ireland.”

Irish Olympic hero Michael Carruth will bring a Drimnagh team to Belfast on Friday night to take on Holy Trinity. Picture by Hugh Russell


OLYMPIC gold medallist Michael Carruth is bringing a strong team to Belfast for a club show against Holy Trinity on Friday night.

Carruth, the only Irish boxer ever to top the podium after his heroics in Barcelona 25 years ago, will be joined by brother William as their Drimnagh BC team take on the Belfast boys at the Fruithill Bowling Club on the Andersonstown Road.

The pick of the evening's action perhaps comes in the 60kg weight class where an all-Belfast clash pits Holy Trinity pocket rocket Barry McReynolds against Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallist Colm Murphy of the St George’s club.

Holy Trinity v Drimnagh schedule (Holy Trinity names first)

B1 40kg: K Smith v B Smyth; B3 35kg: D Bradley v C Doherty (Two Castles); B3 39kg: K McGreevy v T Mullan (Two Castles); GS 52kg: L Welsh v S Owens (Gilford); B3 52kg: C McCann v J Uzell; B4 50kg: J McConnell v W Okanda; B5 56kg: C Fisher v D Douglas; B3 46kg: J O’Neill v J McLoughlin; B6 70kg: H Monaghan v K Freehill; B6 60kg: B McReynolds v C Murphy (St George’s); U18 63kg: C Campbell v P Adamus

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