It was standing room only last Friday night in Friel's Hotel, Raphoe when the local boxing club hosted a homecoming function for their recently crowned European youth bronze medalist, Leah Gallen. This was her second European bronze having won a similar medal at the European Junior Championships in Anappa, Russia last year.
She was greeted with thunderous applause when she entered the function room. The attendance included her family as well as a large crowd of young boxers from different clubs as well as close friends from St Columba's College in Stranorlar.
Also in attendance was Donegal's very own Jason Quigley, who won three Europeamn gold medals during his very distinguished amateur career. He praised Leah for her fine efforts and commitment to the sport and wished her well for the future.
Gary McCullagh, head coach at the Raphoe club made a presentation on behalf of everyone at the club and was very high in his praise for Leah and all her family. He thanked everyone that attended at such short notice. Also present was one of Leah's team mates in Bulgaria, Newtownstewart flyweight puncher, Jude Gallagher, a ten times national championship and European and World youth bronze medalist.
His father John and two Castle coaches, Paul Mayse and Donal McHugh were also present
Raphoe club secretary, Peter O'Donnell, also congratulated Leah on her success saying she was a credit to her family, club and county to go go Sofia in Bulgaria at only 16 years of age to represent her country at such a high profile championship and return to Donegal with a bronze medal.
He added it was important to remember that Leah was only 16 and that there was an entry of 339 boxers representing 37 nations at the event qand to claim a bronze medal was a fantastic achievement.
Mr O'Donnell aso thanks a number of people who contributed to the night including John Friel and his friendly staff and all the generous business people of Raphoe and surrounding areas for their continued financial support as the Raphoe club moved into its 31st year.
Leah also spoke and thanked club coaches Gary McCullagh, Gerard Keaveney and Peter O'Donnell and indeed everyone who turned out to support her on the night.
She is now taking a well deserved break for a few weeks after such a busy and successful season.
Donegal Novice Tournament
The County Donegal Boxing Board will kick off the new season next weekend, September 21-22 with a novice tournament for boxers aged 11-17 with 0-5 contests. It will be open to boxers from Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo.
All boxers must pre-enter by contacting James McCarron on (083) 876 5898 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Thursday, September 19. The weigh-in will take place at the Letterkenny gym on Saturday, September 21, between 9am and 10am with boxing starting at 11.30am.