Former Irish Athletic Boxing Association President Dominic O’Rourke was honoured for his services to boxing and the community in Kildare last night.
The St Michael’s Athy BC coach was recognised for his achievements and services to Ireland’s most successful sport and for his work in the Athy community at the Clonard Hotel in Athy.
The ex IABA chief was presented with his award by Cllr. Mark Ward, Cathaoirleach Athy Municipal District.
O’Rourke, who boxed with the famed Irish club and who has been involved in the sport for over 40 years, said it was a proud moment for him.
“It was a great honour for me personally to be honoured by my own Council. This was the first time we have had these awards, he said.
O’Rourke, who served as IABA President for ten years between the turn of the century and 2010, added: “It was also a brilliant night, very enjoyable. I would like to thank everyone for their well wishes.”
Eric Donovan, a five-time Irish Elite champion and a European Elite bronze medallist who has since switched codes and recently won on his pro debut, hailed O’Rourke as a true boxing man.
“On a personal level it was very special to see Dom getting the credit he thoroughly deserves because he’s always handed over the credit to the boxers. He said last night that only for the boxers he wouldn’t be standing where he was but I can tell you now that only for him we would not have been as successful as we turned out to be, he said.
“I know he is responsible for getting another two senior titles out of me in 2009/10 when I was on the brink of retiring he made me believe again, and he has done the very same with Roy Sheahan, Davie Oliver Joyce, Johnny Joyce & many more.
“Dom is teacher, counsellor, psychologist, father and friend not just a coach, He’s someone you can rely upon in all aspects of life. Even when Dom has been up in the stadium under the lights on senior finals night winning national titles, including a record of 4 champions in one night, a record that looks unlikely to be broken at least in our lifetime.
“When the lights and cameras switch off on finals night, “the job is done, the title is in the bag”, the champion boxers can afford to take a break, but Dom’s work never ends.
“It’s back to the club on a Monday night and the picture of Dom going through the fundamentals over and over again with the younger kids is firmly imprinted in my mind. His only objective is to guide them on the same journey as the ones before them, providing them with every chance of fulfilling their potential and being successful.
“He treats every single boxer with the same effort and time no matter their status, that is the true measure of the man. His contribution and impact on people’s lives within the community of Athy and further afield words could not describe how valuable a person he is to our community. He’s Dom to all of us, a true boxing man.”