A huge crowd of over 800 people turned up at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point on Sunday night to support the ‘Fight for Autism’ charity boxing event and a phenomenal €21,075 was raised.
The third installment of the annual boxing extravaganza raised much-needed funds for a new Autism unit at St Joseph’s Secondary School.
It is envisaged that the funds will be used for specialised equipment and treatment rooms.
This was the third year that over €21,000 was raised and the organisers were thrilled by the fantastic support from locals and people throughout the county.
The principal of St Joseph’s Secondary School Mary Crawford said she was delighted by the success of the charity event. “It was phenomenal to get the support we did and great after three years,” she said. “It was a very good night of boxing. It started at 7pm and it went on until about 11.30pm so it was a good four hours. We had a disco then afterwards for anyone who had the energy for that.”
Mary said the training and the rigorous preparation that the 32 boxers had undertaken in the lead-up to their fights was admirable and each boxer had given a huge commitment. “I was talking to one of the girls this morning and she said the training was very good but you’re never really prepared for getting into the ring,” she said. “As well as the boxing we had a raffle and the two were run together.”
Mary said the participating boxers had come from the northern tip of Clare to the southern tip and the interest in supporting the event was a reflection of the “greater awareness” of autism. “It was a very good community initiative. I’m guessing that there’s probably a far greater awareness of autism in the community now,” she said. “There was a great buzz after it and a great sense of camaraderie.”
Former St Joseph’s student Ciara Burke from Miltown Malbay was one of the 32 boxers taking part in the fundraising event.
Ciara only found out last Friday that she would be fought her friend Tara Rynne from Iona in her boxing match. She said it was a great night with a massive crowd. “There was a big crowd of family and friends,” she said. “I won but it was really tough, you couldn’t call it. The atmosphere was unreal, it was very nerve-racking.”
Ciara said she had a personal reason for boxing in the fundraiser as a close friend of the family has autism. Prior to the event Ciara had came together with five of her friends who were also taking part and they raised over €1,000 by organising a table quiz in a pub in Miltown Malbay.
Ciara said every boxer had a walk-on with their “own music and entourage,” while boxing trainers such as Kevin and Kealan Sexton acted as cornermen. Tommy Lyons of Ennis Boxing Club was the referee. “It was brillant. Yeah I would definitely do it again. The referee was very good and the cornermen were brillant. So many people came out to support us.”
Ennis Boxing Club trainer Tommy Lyons said it had been a memorable night of boxing and he was pleased that all of the 32 boxers emerged unscathed and uninjured after their 16 bouts. “We got them to get their stance right and through the boxing we got them into some shape. Some of them performed very well and the girls were as good as the boys.”
See today’s Clare People for photographs from the event.