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Please scroll down for an appreciation article written by former IABA Breandán Ó Conaire to the late Mr Joe Kirwan who sadly passed away this week.

Please click here for funeral arrangements.

Joseph Kirwan 1930-2017

An Appreciation

Joe Kirwan’s personal boxing memories go back to the early days of the National Stadium (1939) and to his friendship with, and admiration for many of the famous Irish boxers of that era. His practical involvement in the activities of the IABA began in the late 1970s, having spent several years as a highly respected International Referee-Umpire with the Irish Table Tennis Association. In the following decades he played a significant role, within a group of like-minded officials, in the development of amateur boxing at both administrative and competition levels – first as an officer/Registrar of the Co. Dublin Board and later as a member of the IABA Central Council. He also became Hon. Secretary of the distinguished British Railways Boxing Club and later of the Glasnevin B.C.

For the 1985-86 period he was elected onto the Central Council, a position he retained into the 1994-95 season, having been appointed P.R.O. in the interim. He then became the Hon. Secretary of the Association (1995-97), followed by his elevation to the post of Vice-President (1997-2000). Annual Presidential reports reflect the quality of his contributions to the work of the Association, e.g.

“Vice President Joe Kirwan does everybody’s work as well as his own, and excels in the areas of programme production, compilation of statistics, media contact and door keeper.” [President’s Address 1999]

His boundless energy, work ethic, integrity and loyalty, which have always been widely admired, have made a noteworthy impact on the work of Association over the years.

In recent times Joe has been ‘adopted’ as the unofficial Research Specialist of the Association, dedicating himself to gathering a comprehensive record of all medallists, tournaments, championships and international matches involving Irish boxers of all ages from the 1940s up to our current century. This selfless labour of commitment required twice weekly visits to the historic Pearse Street Library in Dublin, and the subsequent meticulous transcription of the results on to his trusty computer at Headquarters.

From this massive catalogue, covering seven decades of Irish boxing, Joe was able to create valuable biographical accounts of former boxers’ careers, which are frequently requested and highly appreciated by the boxers themselves, their families and boxing fans. Examples of the fruits of this dedicated research can be seen in the colourful programmes produced annually by Joe and the excellent IABA staff, and eagerly collected by Stadium regulars, and especially by former boxers who see their names recalled in programmes of yesteryear which they can display to their families and the next generation.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association made a special presentation to Joe on the 17th February at this year’s National Élite Championships in the ring of the historic National Stadium. This award by the Association constituted a fitting tribute, a public and popular acknowledgement, and an expression of gratitude, in recognition of a lengthy and stalwart career in the service of our Olympic sport, and especially of our boxers, by a very special person.


Breandán Ó Conaire, President IABA 1996-2000.