Joe Hennigan, President of Connacht and a stalwart of Irish Boxing for over 30 years has the official distinction of being named Ireland’s Team Manager for the upcoming Rio Games. Before the team departed this week, Joe wrote a very encouraging letter of support to each of the 8 boxers and coaches qualified and selected to represent Ireland the 31st Olympiad. Joe has been an integral part of the boxer’s journey through the various qualification routes over the last two years and we have no doubt his experience will greatly benefit the team out in Rio.
“I was selected by the Central Council and have had the utmost pleasure in travelling as Team Manager for Team Ireland for the past 18 months to 2 years. What a journey we have all taken together and I would like to take stock of the road we have all taken.
This Senior elite Team Ireland is second to none one of the best in the world, their sheer dedication to our sport makes me so proud of each and every of them and when I say team I mean the full squad not just our Olympians. The support staff in Zauri, Eddie and more recently John have given up their lives for this team to ensure their success, they have come through some very difficult times but have proven to be the best coaching staff any Federation could ask for. We are now competing with the very best the world has to offer, the contacts that have been made by the coaches with other countries, the camps that have been arranged through them, the friendships with nations has been forged for many years to come. The myth that Ireland is a small country with small teams is now over, we are now heading to Rio with the highest number of boxing athletes ever from a High Performance Unit we can be very proud of.
I am humbled and honoured to have been a part of this journey . I have witnessed the sweat and tears the joy and laughter along the way and I have made friendships that will last me forever. As we get ready for as they call it “The Greatest Show on Earth” I would like to thank everyone who supported me along the way, the National officers and the Central Council who put me forward for this, and the IABA Office staff for all the admin work.
I have been privileged to be among these elite men and Katie and I know we are capable of bringing home 8 medals whatever their colour because we have the very best representing us in Rio.
I would just like to say to Michael Conlon, Paddy Barnes, Joe Ward, Michael O Reilly, Stephen Donnelly, Brendan Irvine and David Oliver Joyce , Coaches Zauri, Eddie and John – I have enjoyed every single minute with you all, you have earned your place in the history books, you have worked hard and dedicated your lives to Boxing now go reap the rewards, the best of luck to you. Lastly I would like to mention Katie, the Queen of the ring and I mean that sincerely . I have no doubt she will make it a double in Rio such is her strength and courage and she is an absolute credit to any sport and an icon that Ireland can look up to for many many years to come.
Rio Here we Come!