Man hospitalised after incident involving masked men with machetes at youth boxing competition in Co Roscommon

Irish Athletic Boxing Association suspends weekend competition and condemns ‘abhorrent’ incident

Gardaí are investigating an incident at a national boxing tournament in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, where a number of men armed with machetes entered a boxing venue on Friday night.

A man, in his 40s, was assaulted and suffered facial injuries after being struck by a bladed object. He received medical treatment at the scene and was later taken to Galway University Hospital with serious injuries. He is beleived to be a relative of one of those competing at the event.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has condemned the incident at the under-14 youth event, branding it as “abhorrent”.

The incident saw several males, at least three of whom wielded sharp instruments, entering Castlerea Boxing Club, at Demesne, Castlerea, at around 9.45pm, during Friday night’s quarter-finals of the National Boy 4 Boxing Championships.


Violence broke out and the men fled the scene. It is believed they were looking for another male at the venue. The incident is believed to stem from an ongoing feud between two families. At least one of the suspected attackers is known to gardaí for his involvement in criminality.

The tournament was being live streamed and part of the attack was caught on camera.

One of the attackers was also observed appearing to film the attack on his phone.

There were several children in the hall at the time, some of whom were left badly shaken by the incident.

An incident room has been established, at Castlerea garda station. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses who may have seen a white or silver Audi A4 car travelling in the Castlerea and Ballintubber areas of Co Roscommon between 8.30pm and 11.30pm. Those with camera or dash cam footage are being asked to make it available. Castlerea Garda Station can be contacted at 084 9621630 or the Garda confidential line at 1800 666 111.

In a statement, the IABA said: “That such an incident could occur at a children’s sporting event is abhorrent and is roundly condemned by every member of the Irish boxing family.”

The IABA has also confirmed that two further days of boxing due to take place this weekend as part of the tournament have been suspended and will be rescheduled.

The statement concluded: ‘’Understandably there will be clubs, boxers, officials and supporters at a loss. But in the interest of their safety, there is no option, risk remains too high even if the competition proceeds behind closed doors.”

In a statement on social media, Castlerea Boxing Club said it was “so proud to be asked to host this year’s All-Ireland Championships, and we thought that it would be a great historical moment for our club and town, but instead, it has brought great shock and sadness. We can only apologise to all of the wonderful people that attended, to the children who trained all year for this weekend and to the people of Castlerea for the hurt that this has caused.”

Condemning those involved in the incident, the club said it would be unable to host future All-Ireland Championships. “This is a decision we must make for the safety of our boxers, their families, and our community. We are horrified that such events would take place at any sporting event, let alone a children’s event.”

Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne said in a statement on X: “I am horrified to learn of the incident that took place at Castlerea Boxing Club. Every child and every participant in sport should be able to enjoy their sport without fear for their safety. I understand that the gardaí are now investigating this matter, and it’s important for us to allow them to do their work in finding those responsible. My thoughts are with those impacted by this incident.”

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times