|Welcome to the Dick Hearns Centre: home to Ballina Boxing Club|
|A little bit of history on boxing in Ballina: The town's record shows its first boxing tournament tournament was held in 1923, all of a hundred years ago! From humble beginnings at the dawn of political independence, the sport has thrived thanks to the efforts and foresight of those who facilitated it, and to the dedication of the many participants in this noble art of self defence down through the years. There were very many great moments in the intervening years, but all who participated in the sport were the better for the time spent, and this holds true even to this day. The club has participated in Co. Mayo Boxing Board tournaments this season and plans are underway to host a club tournament in the new gym.|
|Message September 2023: As the 2023/2024 boxing season in Co. Mayo is about to begin, Joe Lavelle takes a well-deserved break at ring-side in the new gymnasium. Serving as Ballina Boxing Club's head coach for several years, Joe has gone far beyond what would be expected of any coach as far as committment to the sport and to the youth of the town and county: the new home for the club was meticulously planned by Joe over a number of years while working closely with Michael Conmy and his team in Bury Architects, planners at Mayo County Council together with management at the Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre, and his dream has at last become a reality. The bar was set high, and the building is a fitting tribute to the town's greatest athlete/mentor of all time in the person of the late Dick Hearns.|
Joe calls time!
August 2023: As preparations are being made for the 2023/2024 boxing
season in a new home in the Dick Hearns Centre, Ballina Boxing Club
remembers the contribution made to the club by the late Monsignor Patrick Gallagher
who passed away in 2020. As the club's Honorary President for several
years, this Ballina native was very proud to be associated with the
organization since he stepped forward in 1978 to ensure proper
training facilities were put in place for the members at that
time. "A friend in need is a friend indeed" rings so true, and he
faithfully followed the fortunes of the club over the years where his
support as a distinguished citizen of Ballina was vital, continuing even in his nineties and in failing health
in the latter years. He viewed with delight the plans for the Dick
Hearns Centre which will be a centre of excellence for a variety of
community activities, and wished the project every success. We
know he would be
proud of the new home for Ballina Boxing Club which goes far beyond
what he had envisaged all those decades ago.|
Míle buíochas a chara. Ní bheidh do leithéid ann arís.
Monsignor Paddy Gallagher 1923-2020
|Update 15th July 2023: Preparation of the new gym is at the finishing stage with painting and floor-covering underway. A major boost to the development has been an allocation from the Community Recognition Fund. which not only recognizes the need and the potential for the facility in the community, but also acknowledges the committment of the principals to the youth of the town and hinterland, and in particular in welcoming the disadvantaged and those displaced arriving from abroad.|
|Newsflash 6th April 2023: During an Ireland/England Training Camp and Dual Nations Tournament for U-18 male and female boxers in Ballina, 4th-8th April, the new centre received special praise from IABA President Mr. Gerry O'Mahony, of Dungarvan Boxing Club which hosts the very successful Celtic Box Cup annually in the autumn. Ms. Amanda Coulson, England Team Manager, also called in with her coaches and was very impressed not only with the potential of the building but with the whole town and hinterland environment and facilities so conducive and safe for boxer training. (All going well, the new facility will be fully operational for the 2023/2024 boxing season.) Former IABA President, Mr. Dominic O'Rourke, also came by to view progress since his previous visit and to wish the project well: Dominic and his team at St. Michael's Boxing Club, Athy, have made the club one of the most successful in the country. Ballina Boxing Club|
|Update 24th March 2023: Work on outfitting the interior of the new building to gym standard is underway and the company wishes to acknowledge the support of Community Finance Ireland and Sports Capital Prigramme for facilitating this. We believe that those who founded Ballina Boxing Club all those years ago in 1927 as Ireland was awaking to self-determination politically, would be very proud that their vision for a future in boxing for the young men of Ballina and Mayo, and for the added benefit of life-skills developed through participation in the sport at that time, is not only still alive but engraved forever. King-makers they were, and Ballina will always be most grateful for their efforts: add Queen-makers too since female boxing is also well established in the club. The directors of Dick Hearns Centre are proud to be part of the great journey also. "Dick is smiling and proud of you" is a message from master athlete Frank Hearns, son of the great Dick Hearns: those few words mean a lot. Boxing is well and truly part of our Irish heritage, and the Dick Hearns Centre will protect and safeguard this treasure for many years to come.|
|Message on 28th December 2022: We extend our sincere gratitude to all who have supported our venture over the past seven years. Not only have you ensured the memory of Ballina's great Dick Hearns living on, but you have invested hugely in the dreams and futures of those in the local community and beyond who will grace the canvas apron in the years ahead, even on to Olympic glory, and who will foster very many lifelong friendships along the way. As we enter the final stage of development of the Dick Hearns Centre, and on behalf of the ever-grateful Ballina Boxing Club and its membership, we wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2023.|
|Update 21st December 2022: Preparations for commencement of outfitting the ground floor of the new centre are underway with a tentative completion date of July 2023, and Ballina Boxing Club will relocate to the venue immediately on completion.|
July 30th 2022: Tenders have been invited for work involved in
outfitting the ground floor of the new building and it is envisaged
that the construction will begin as soon as possible after
completion of that process.
Fund-raising continues in the meantime, with valuable support from Ballina Boxing Club. Any additional support would be most welcome.
|Newsflash May 31st 2022: Ballina Boxing Club has been informed that the club's application for partial funding for the new development under the Sports Capital Programme has been successful and that the allocated funds will issue in due course. This grant will be used to aid outfitting of the new building to serve as a fully-functional boxing gymnasium which would also serve additional needs of the community. This is a most heartening development for the club, and Co. Mayo Boxing Board has also welcomed the news. Planning for a long-overdue "Welcome home Dick Hearns" week of celebration can begin at last with tentative dates set for the end of November 2022! A commemorative booklet will be commissioned which will acknowledge sponsors and contributors to the project.|
|Newsflash 20th April 2022: Ballina Boxing Club is in the process of relocating to new premises close to Ballina Community Sports Centre! Site works in June 2020. Construction of the main enclosure of the new premises at Abbeyhalfquarter is well underway and friends of boxing and the youth of Mayo are invited to contribute to the success of the development. A grant application to Sports Capital Programme has been made and a decision is pending.|
|Newsflash June 2020: The company trading as Dick Hearns Centre has taken the bold step of go on site at Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina to construct an enclosed arena as part of the plan to provide a home for Ballina Boxing Club which has been in existance since 1927, yet never had a venue to call home for the long-term during the period since then. Those wishing to help progress the project are asked to contact us in order to facilitate this. Don't delay: do it today!|
|Newsflash June 2015: Planning permission to construct a two-storey multifunctional sports arena at Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina has been granted by Mayo County Council. The proposed building will provide a dedicated arena for boxing training and competitions, and will enhance the facilities and sporting opportunities already provided in the vicinity which boasts a swimming pool, tennis courts and an indoor sports centre. A company trading as Dick Hearns Centre was formed by Ballina Boxing Club which will seek to make this dream a reality through fund-raising and with grant aid.|
|The photo of a fine young athlete posing on the right is that of the great Richard Joseph Hearns from Ballina in County Mayo, and his fame as a multi-disciplined sportsman reached all corners of Ireland and Europe during what was essentially a glorious ten-year reign as a boxer in the 1930s. Hopes of a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics were dashed due to an Irish boycott of the event, but in that year Dick coached the Mayo Gaelic Football Team to the county's first national crown. Like the people of Ballina, Mayo, and their descendants at home and abroad, Dick was very conscious of the rich heritage inherited from the time Ireland's first farmers came to settle in the county more than 6,000 years ago. Human settlements dating from Ireland's Neolithic Stone Age have been discovered along its northern shore at Belderrig and most notably at Behy in an area known as The Céide Fields. Over the centuries greener pastures beckoned its inhabitants, many saw their futures elsewhere and among those was an ambitious youth from Ballina called Richard (Dick) Hearns. In a video on Dick's early life and sporting career, his son Frank relates that Dick joined the Irish Free State Army before his fifteenth birthday and later became a member of An Garda Síochána in which he served until retirement. His son Vincent speaks in an interview on Dick's life on OceanFM. An annual Garda Boxing Tournament has been held in his honour since 2013. But that is not the whole story: Dick was akin to a modern-day Superman, both as an athlete and as a sports mentor, and it is only fitting that a modern gym – where he excelled against the best of his time – should be dedicated to his memory. Dick was the second recipient of the "Western People" Hall of Fame Award in 1972, and this was indeed a great and well-deserved honour. The Dick Hearns Centre -- in Dick's native town -- will be a very fitting, living and functional tribute to the great man, and Dick's original club will be its holding tenant: Ballina Boxing Club was set up in 1927 when Dick was just twenty years of age. Current build stage|
NEW BOXING ARENA ON THE WAY FOR BALLINA BOXING CLUBBallina Boxing Club will soon have a permanent home beside the town's swimming pool, Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre (home to Ballina Badminton Club) and Ballina Tennis Club. Construction of Phase 1 of this project began on the site in June of 2020 and continued in spite of hold-ups due to Covid-19 restrictions which brought in train the virtual collapse of the materials' market coupled with massive consequential price increases at all levels. Phase 2, which is currently underway, involves the conversion of the building into a functionl gym, essentially to meet the needs of Ballina Boxing Club (which has been in existance since 1927) and as an IABA regional centre, in addition to enhancing facilities already on the same campus. A most welcome Sports Capital Grant to meet part of this cost has been sanctioned. Mayo County Council has supported the club's efforts in a meaningful way financially. Online donations can be made here. Company directors
Click image to enlarge
clarity, the company which has undertaken this project trades
as Dick Hearns Centre, is registered with
Registration Office Ireland, and is
subject to regulation under the Companies Act 2014 and under Section 235 of the Taxes Consolidation Act
1997. Auditors: Dillon McCarron
Company directors: Dave Fleming, Vince Hearns, Joe Lavelle, Dr. James Harrison and Vincent McMahon. The company is also a member of Mayo PPN.
Ballina Boxing Club is a not-for-profit association which is affiliated to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association and is subject to its rules and regulations.
|Dick Hearns Centre welcomes the backing of Community Finance Ireland which has given loans to many community organizations in Ireland over the years once a sound business plan is in place.|
|Dick Hearns Centre welcomes the invaluable support of Mayo County Council for this worthwhile project.|
|Dick Hearns Centre wishes to acknowledge state support for this venture via a grant under the Sports Capital Programme.|
|Dick Hearns Centre wishes to acknowledge state support for this development via a grant from Community Recognition Fund 2023|
|Dick Hearns Centre wishes to thank Bury Architects for their professional approach in furthering the project.|
project has been approved by the IABA and
by Co. Mayo Boxing Board.
Several local sporting bodies have also offered support for the venture which will be mutually beneficial to all concerned.
"Ar aghaidh linn le chéile"
Project support from Mayo County Council
In September of 2014, the first hurdle in getting a long-overdue permanent home for Ballina Boxing Club was overcome after an offer of a lease of a site at Abbeyhalfquarter was made to the club by management at Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre. This was followed by a successful application to Mayo County Council for permission to construct a two-storey multi-functional indoor arena -- designed for boxing as the core activity -- in Ballina in June of 2015. Cllr. Mark Duffy provided financial backing for the project as work was progressing as did Cllr. John O'Hara, and Councillor Seamus Weir, Cathaoirleach of the Ballina Municipal District Mayo Co. Co., secured an allocation from the council to help it achieve its aims, and with a promise of further most welcome support from the same body. Cllr. Jarlath Munnelly has also made a financial donation towards the development.The club also received funding through the council's-administered Owneninny Community Benefit Fund, all of which will go towards development of Phase 2 of the project which is outfitting the structure as a boxing gymnasium.
Mayo Co. Co. crest
The company, trading as Dick Hearns Centre, has funded the construction of the basic open-plan building, and outfitting as a functional gymnasium will be undertaken by Ballina Boxing Club with necessary aid from Ireland's Sports Capital programme, Mayo County Council and through local fund-raising. From the outset, the project had the support of the Hearns family, at a financial level and as company directors. Like their late father Dick, and undoubtedly influenced by the deep-rooted Christian spirit he shared with their mother Clare, they were prepared to put the shoulder to the wheel as need dictated. Over several years, Dick had helped many athletes and teams achieve their goals, including the great Jim Lugs Branigan who said of him; "I trained quite a lot with Dick Hearns, whom I greatly admired and learned more about boxing from Dick than I did from anybody else".
The project backers wishe to acknowledge the generous financial support of philanthropists John Griffin and the late Martin Birrane, whose trust continues to offer financial support. The project received a surprise and most welcome donation from New Yorker Bill Fahey and, on the home front, the proceeds of "Matilda, the Musical" choreographed by the young Ballina native, Jack Cronin.The company also acknowledges a donation from Mayo Association Dublin in recognition of the sterling service Clare Hearns had given there over several years. Among the first to make a very substantial donation to the success of the fund-raising efforts was fromer Ballina Boxing Club Treasurer, Tony McDermott. Tháinig sparán lán ó Mháire Ní Laoire i ndíl chuimhne ar Des Hearns a d'fhág an saol seo i Mí Eanáir 2021, agus tá an comhlacht an bhuíoch dí.
Current members and former members of the local boxing community have also come on board with valuable donations towards the success of the project. A substantial donation was also received from businessman Michael Carr. A most welcome donation was received recently from one of Mayo's most respected boxing-people, Mr. Sean Horkan, who managed the Irish Olympic Boxing Team with dignity and honour in Barcelona in 1992 when Michael Carruth took gold and Wayne McCullogh was awarded the silver medal, and helped on by coach Nicolas Cruz Hernandez shown in the photo taken on arrival home afterwards here. The stately figure of Sean Horkan stands justifiably proudly behind the Cuban. Sean's approval for the construction of the new boxing arena in Ballina is worth far more than money could buy and is a very fitting tribute to his own character as a true son of Mayo and of boxing, and coming from a former Hon. President Connacht Council IABA makes it even more so.
The company has received pledges from a number of people to grant the fund-raising efforts cash and other donations, and interest-free loans which would be repayable within ten years and long before then more than likely. A business plan is in place to organize fund-raising events locally, nationally and online. All donations will be acknowledged and recorded in line with current best accounting practice and available for inspection going forward into the future.
Dick Hearns Centre wishes to acknowledge the support of Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre for granting the company a 50-year lease of a site to build the centre. The company gratefully acknowledges the support of Mrs Cheryl Murphy whose late husband Paddy was an avid supporter of the club.
The company welcomes the promised support of the county's national representatives.
We would ask those interested in supporting the project to contact us if they wish to make a donation or give an interest-free loan.
Serving the local community, Mayo and Ireland and facilitating access to a proud Irish boxing tradition at the Olympics – Irish boxers won 18 of the country's 35 Olympic medals
|Ballina Boxing Club – the oldest boxing club in Mayo – was set up in 1927 and has proven to be a leading light for many over several decades since then. The club trained at various locations over the years and has been operating in leased premises on Mercy Road, Ballina, since 2012, aptly named Dick Hearns Gym. Other sports in the town have enjoyed custom-built grant-aided facilities for many years and it is high time that boxers and boxercise participants would benefit likewise. The idea of constructing a training arena in the town for Ballina Boxing Club and dedicated to the memory of the late great Ballina super-athlete Dick Hearns, is the brain-child of Mr. Joe Lavelle, ( http://themerrymonk.ie/ ) one of Mayo's greatest sporting and Irish music supporters, and possessing a lifelong appreciation and admiration of that truly great Mayo sportsman and sports mentor in the person of Dick Hearns. The dream was to custom-build a centre to cater for the growing needs of Ballina Boxing Club and which would be capable of hosting local, county, regional and national boxing tournaments. A home venue is a huge advantage to a competitor in any sport and a full-size ring is also a must: an athlete should train under competition conditions and Ballina boxers have waited long enough.|
many years, Ballina Boxing Club had sought a suitable site for the
construction of a boxing arena in the town but there was always a snag. In
2014, Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre
offered a lease of
grounds on their site on which to build such a dedicated boxing
arena which will be known as the Dick
Hearns Centre, aptly named after the great Dick
whose family were
only too glad to be associated with the project. Vince and Des Hearns
– sons of the great man – joined the project early on
and together proved a major asset. Vince had played basketball
at the highest
level in his youth while Des won two All
Ireland Minor medals with Dublin in the mid-fifties. Artist's impression of
permission to build was granted in June 2015 and a grant
application process for aid for a single-phase construction of the new
arena was initiated. After an extremely lengthy application process,
the idea had to be abandoned as expiry of planning permission
loomed in June 2020 and a self-build on the site in two phases
became the only viable option: construction of an open-plan roofed
structure funded from local resources initially, with grant
aid being sought for outfitting the unit as a boxing arena
Construction of the first phase which began in June 2020 was mainly financed by a loan from Community Finance Ireland. Private donations, interest-free loans from individuals, corporate and community support and sponsorship of materials/voluntary labour all contributed towards achieving completion of the phase. A successful application for a Sports Capital Grant and to other funding sources will enable outfitting of the building as a functional boxing arena. On completion of the project, boxers from Ballina and the hinterland will be guaranteed a home for the future in the new building. Community groups and other sporting codes will be able to avail of the facilities for occasional or regular use under agreement with the club and management of Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre.
The new structure will house boxing and other memorabilia donated by the Hearns family as a fitting tribute to Ballina's most accomplished athlete of all time, the late Dick Hearns. The club's company currently has five directors who are in good standing within the community, and all value the sport of boxing highly. The youngest director – local GP Dr. James Harrison – is a keen sportsman who has been in attendance at a number of boxing tournaments as medical officer over the years: he will be an essential medical advisor for the company and for boxing club coaches in the years ahead as the centre functions. Like all true professionals and competitors associated with boxing, he views the sport as an art form, a game of physical chess where mental fitness, technique, skill, level of mobility and strategy are far more important than mere physical attributes: what matters is how resources are managed and adapted to suit changing requirements. Nobody in the Irish boxing community is more respected than company director Joe Lavelle, and his role in staging boxing tournaments from local to national in the new centre will be a huge asset to the company and to its success in the years ahead. Over the years the club – thanks to Joe's contacts and reputation at home and abroad – has facilitated boxing dinner shows in Ballina at which guests from London's Bedford BC and St. Pancras BC, Leeds/Yorkshire and Highfields BC of Cardiff attended.
The role of a boxing club in a community
In the course of providing training and fitness programmes in preparation for boxing competitions, young athletes gain access to local and national communities they would possibly never know otherwise, and over time will learn to appreciate membership's many personal benefits.
Coaches in boxing clubs identify early signs of ASPD in young people and are ideally suited to deal timely with any problems which may arise. Anti-social behaviour, in any of its forms, is not condoned by boxing clubs or by the boxing community. People with ASPD often use organizations to rise to power through manipulation of weakness in individuals/system to make the group self-serving: a serious shortcoming of democracy if not tackled at an early stage.
Coercive Control, which is totally against the boxing ethos, is often hidden from the public eye but is very easily identified by personnel in charge of boxing clubs where any form of bullying is dealt with speedily, and sometimes that involves confronting parents or referral to outside agencies such as An Garda Síochána, and Tusla.
It is in the national interest to ensure individuals engaging in anti-social activity receive proper life-preparation at the earliest stage lest they, and others close to them as well as the community at large, suffer the consequences of their foolishness throughout their teenage years and beyond. All too often the service boxing coaches provides in this regard does not get the state recognition it deserves. No other sporting organization is capable of dealing with ASPD in the same way: the all too common use of expulsion from an organization just shifts the problem elsewhere. Boxing clubs work closely with other organizations such as An Garda Síochána, and with Tusla, to whom coaches who identify any form of abuse of the young will make a referral. All adult personnel associated with boxing clubs carry cards to show Garda clearance to work with minors and must also have certification in child protection.
See the value a boxing club gives to a community and its youngsters in the Dale Youth Boxing Club after the Grenfel Tower inferno in London in June 2017. American novelist James Baldwin wrote: "The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose." In his essay "No Name in the Street" he penned: "It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." Everybody needs a sense of belonging and of self-worth: those who never had this often fall victim to substance abuse or gangland crime, but boxing clubs become a home-from-home for many which in turn has very positive personal outcomes and for the local community, and early intervention is vital to ensure this. Pairings for all competitions are based on weight category, and on age/experience for younger competitors: all are made welcome in a boxing club.
Taylor Benefits of boxing for women
Boxercise is a most enjoyable activity and research has shown that it has many benefits as described in an article from Harvard Medical School in 2015. Many of Ireland's boxing clubs are under utilized and Boxercise will become available to young and old in the new Dick Hearns Centre, under the programmes organized by Ballina Boxing Club. The role of boxing training routines for patients in Rehab centres has been recognised and the new arena could be used for specific dedicated training within the client's local community. Sufferers living with Parkinson's disease have also found benefits in boxing gym programmes such as Rock Steady Boxing.
Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre will manage access to the facilities in the Dick Hearns Centre for any vacant time slots.
Left to right: Vincent Hearns, Ballina BC PRO; Jerzy Baraniecki, Polish
Coach; Deputy Michelle Mulherrin TD; Sergiy Korchynsky, Polish Head Coach and native of Ukraine; Deputy Darragh Calleary TD; Joe Lavelle, Ballina BC Treasurer/CPO and Vincent McMahon, Secretary Ballina Boxing Club
As part of their training for the Rio Olympics of 2015, national boxing teams in many countries went abroad on training and team-bonding missions. Ballina Boxing Club, after successfully tendering to host the Polish Rafaeko Hussars, coordinated a most successful 16-day training camp in the town. The cooperation received from management in Ballina Swimming Pool, Ballina Community Sports Centre and Ballina Athletic Club ensured the smooth running of the event. Special thanks to Arrow Cabs, Ballina for their services to the Polish 9-man contingent, from arrival at Dublin Airport on December 6th until departure on December 22nd.
This training camp is a blueprint for what will take place when the new centre opens. Great opportunities were missed in the past, but a new era in Mayo boxing has dawned and Ballina BC will not be found lacking to meet the challenge. During the 21/22 season, Mayo boxing selections were matched against British selections on a number of occasions in Belfast, Tyrone and Bristol as well as meeting inter-county obligations at home.
Ballina boxers have distinguished themselves in Holland, Poland, Germany and Portugal in previous years and the new gym will facilitate a continuation of this, with teams coming to Ballina to compete against Mayo and Irish selections.
|Building for sale
The company is currently inviting offers to purchase a property formerly used as a boxing gymnasium at Pawn Office Lane, Ballina, and the proceeds of this sale will go towards work at the new Dick Hearns Centre. The site would make an ideal location for offices of a legal firm or auctioneer, a hairdressing salon, a podiatry clinic, or for apartments with parking at street level and living accommodation on first and second floors. It would also make a very suitable location for a multi-point car-charging station because of its proximity to a town centre car park. Visitors to the town would be very appreciative of a little WC relief on arrival or to freshen up before departure, and clean well-maintained toilets/baby changing area would be most welcome adjacent to the car park.Details: DNG Michael Boland Location: 54°06'48"N 9°09'00"W Site area: 152 sq. m./1,636 sq. ft.
To make a lodgement directly to our company bank please use the following details:Account name: Dick Hearns Centre, Account No. 20004180
About the Dick Hearns Centre
Floor Plan Dick Hearns Centre
Dick Hearns Centre will be a two-storey building outfitted to suit the needs of the boxing community and which will complement the existing campus at Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina, Co. Mayo, which has an indoor sports centre, a swimming pool and tennis courts. Site location: 54°06'48.80" N 9°08'47.19" W. A company, trading as Dick Hearns Centre, has been formed to oversee the construction of the new structure.
Ballina Boxing Club will be the holding tenant and, when not being used for that purpose in whole or in part, bookings will be done through the sports centre which operates between 0900 and 2100 daily. When it rains, or when darkness falls early as days get shorter in autumn and winter, the demand for indoor facilities in Ballina far exceeds the availability and this new two-storey addition will be most welcome. Read what the new additional facilities will mean to the management of the existing sports centre here.
They say the Irish "box above their weight," and this new centre takes its name from one of Ireland's greatest multi-disciplined sportsmen, Ballina native, the late Dick Hearns, whose achievements as a non-professional sportsman and sports' mentor in several disciplines were exemplary and have never been equalled. (See article on Irish Examiner ) A new film on aspects of the life of the great man is available to view online here.
Ballina Boxing Club, Mayo's oldest boxing club which was established in 1927, is fully committed to the project and in working with other partners on the leisure park campus. In April 2015, Ballina Boxing Club, in conjunction with Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre, hosted the Ireland/Finland Senior Ladies International which was indeed a great honour. The event took place in the sports hall which is an ideal venue for showcasing boxing with its 140-seat balcony and adequate floor space around a full-size boxing ring to seat 400 spectators comfortably in addition. Mira Potkonen of Finland, who got the decision against Katie Taylor in Olympics 2016, was on the card against Cheyenne O'Neill from Athlone on the night. (See results on IABA website.) In December 2015, a 16-day training camp for Polish Olympic hopefuls was facilitated by Ballina Boxing Club, in conjunction with Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre and Ballina Swimming Pool, as part of the Polish boxers' preparation for the 2016 Olympics. (Letter from the Polish team manager.) It is envisaged that this type of event will be promoted in the extended campus, and that other interested sporting bodies, both locally and nationally, would avail of the venue for team training, team bonding etc. To have a ready-to-go venue for such events would be a major incentive. and Ballina Community Sports and Leisure Centre and Ballina Swimming Pool are committed to opening their doors to facilitate these type of ventures in the future and which will have an obvious spin-off for the town and county.
Because of its location which has such a high foot-fall, it will increase opportunities for participation in a range of health-promoting, sporting and recreational activities which may otherwise be missed. A single drop-off point for children/families participating in different activities will reduce parental stress, and give those parents an opportunity to meet and chat over a coffee in the foyer of the main building. The project has the support of all public representatives in the local municipal area.The second-level schools in Ballina have also offered support: St. Muredach's College Moyne College St. Mary's Secondary School. The County Mayo Boxing Board has recognized its potential for its own tournaments/competitions, and for inter-county boxing events which it is most anxious to promote. In October 2019, Mr. Joe Lavelle, of Ballina Boxing Club, in conjunction with boxing friends in Bristol, facilitated a Co. Mayo Boxing Board Selection V. Bristol and Home Counties Selection weekend of boxing in Bristol, and ensured the green light for this type of event in the future on a home-and-away basis: a second Mayo boxing selection travelled to Bristol in February 2020. Trips to clubs in Memphis, Spain and Portugal followed and return visits to Mayo are in preparation.
The ethos of Ballina Community
Sports and Leisure Centre will be
mirrored in this new addition -- open to all -- and just as the late
Dick Hearns would have wished for.
Company Directors: Dave Fleming, Vince Hearns, Joe Lavelle, Dr. James Harrison and Vincent McMahonChairperson: Mr. Dave Fleming, Abbey St., Ballina. Co. Mayo
Hearns tribute : the record
says it all.
Read more on Dick Hearns in Terry Reilly's latest book Ballina, People, Amazing, Stories, Terry, Reilly (mayobooks.ie)
Dick Hearns photographed beside his trophies and medals