A Raphoe BC selection, under the guidance of club coaches Gary McCullagh and Gerard Keaveny, travel to Birmingham on January 31 to compete in a major tournament in the Holte Suite at the Aston Villa Football Ground.

Down through the years, Raphoe punchers have built up a strong relationship with two of Birmingham’s elite clubs, the Paddy Brennan Boxing Academy and the Second City BC under head coach Paddy Farrell.

When these teams last met in the Deele College Sports Pavilion on April 14 last, it was the Donegal men who came out on top by 9 bouts to 4.

No doubt the two “Paddys” will be going all out to reverse that result this time around.

However, Raphoe coach and match maker McCullagh has other ideas and will be heading to Birmingham with an all-star squad which includes European Youth medallist Jude Gallagher guesting for the progressive Ulster outfit who celebrate their 31st anniversary this year.

Gallagher’s Two Castle BC team-mate and two-time national champion Tiarnan Mayes fills the 72kg berth.

Also guesting will be Convoy’s former Irish titlist, the talented and explosive Bryan McNamee who never fails to impress on the big occasion. Derry livewire and six-time national champion Dominic Bradley (Errigal ABC), dynamic Raphoe duo Liam McMonagle and Eoin McGarrell, who both won gold at the recent 9-County Championships in Derry, can expect stiff opposition at Villa Park.

Raphoe’s long-serving light-welter, Dennis Lafferty, a veteran of over 60 contests, will have to be red hot on the night as he faces former British Youth champion, Bradley Ferrie.

Raphoe middleweight, the rugged, hammer-handed Ruairi McGlinchey, squares up against granite-jawed Patrick Doherty who has recorded five inside the distance wins this season.

Raphoe’s Deele College student, Ballindrait-based Liam Crawford, a silver medallist at the recent 9 Counties, is paired with the much talked about Aleeb Khan at 60kg.

Brendan O’Hagan, Raphoe’s St Eunan’s College student who never fails to impress, faces the tigerish Patch Farrell at 46kg and the Raphoe team joker in the pack, Aaron McDaid, has been paired with British schoolboy finalist Farren Farrell at 44kg.

Also making the trip is Raphoe’s female European bronze medallist Leah Gallen, pictured below with Peter O’Donnell, and Codie Lafferty who has had a very busy season at the Raphoe unit.

A full report of this major tournament will appear in the local press when the team returns from Birmingham.

Raphoe BC Select

Craig Bigger, Jude Gallagher, Tiarnan Myse, Dominic Bradley, Bryan McNamee, Codie Lafferty, Leah Gallaen, Aaron McDaid, Brendan O’Hagan, Liam Crawford, Liam McMonagle, Denis Lafferty, Eoin McGarrell, Danny Duggan and Ruairi McGlinchey. Coaches: Gary McCullagh, Gerard Keaveney, Paul O’Donnell and Adrian ‘Chalkey’ Kelly. Team Manager: Peter O’Donnell

(Peter O’Donnell)