The border village of Belleek, Co. Fermanagh is packing a real punch these days with the opening of a brand new boxing club.
And the Erne Gaels GAA Centre is echoing to the sound of leather on leather as a new sport comes breezing into the border village.
A chance meeting between Irish Amateur Boxing Association referee, Paddy Kelly and Erne Gaels football fan, Niall Heron was the catalyst for this vibrant club that is located in the Gaels GAA Centre, Davog Drive, Belleek.
Niall had noticed a gap for another sport for local boys and girls in the long winter evenings when GAA activity is not so hectic.
So he formed Belleek Amateur Boxing Club with the help of Omagh-native Paddy Kelly.
The club is fully affiliated with the IABA and is fully insured.
Although relatively new, the club has already received recognition with local lads Jordan O’Hagan, Michael Heron, Ethan Webb and Shannon Kelly who have already competed successfully in Ulster competition.
An according to chairman Niall, the club intend to branch out to other sporting activities for boys and girls from the age of nine upwards.
“It is great to be up and running and we have got superb support from the boxing fraternity.
“We hope to add Wrestling and Kickboxing as we develop and grow.
“We have got all the necessary equipment in the Erne Gaels Centre including our own ring, weights and punch bags” said Niall.
“I know this is something very new for us but we have been delighted by the support we have got from local families.
“I would like to thank Ulster President Paul Mahon and Ulster Funding Manager Steven Mills for giving us the funding for all the necessary equipment.
“I know it is early days yet but I also know that we will grow and develop to enable the youth of Belleek to be more healthy and confident.
As many of the young boxers also line out with Erne Gaels it will have a positive effect for the well- known GAA club.
“Apart from the training in the GAA Centre, the boxing training will make the Erne Gaels girls and boys even hardier” said Niall.
“We have got great co-operation from the Gaels so it is a happy alliance.
Meanwhile Paddy Kelly, who once fought Michael Carruth back in the early 90s, said he was happy with the enthusiasm of all concerned.
“The club currently have 20 members and are growing in confidence.
“We are looking for all ages from nine to 39 if possible.
The club trains every Saturday at 6 pm under trainer Paddy Kelly.
It can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on their Facebook page.