Minister hopeful that Billy Walsh might stay

Ireland’s head coach understood to have accepted new job with USA

 Ireland head coach Billy Walsh has led his teams to unprecedented succes on the world stage in recent years.

Ireland head coach Billy Walsh has led his teams to unprecedented succes on the world stage in recent years.

 

Michael Ring, Minister of State for Sport has expressed his surprise at the prospect of Irish boxing head coach Billy Walsh accepting an offer to leave Ireland and coach in the US.

Reports in today’s media claim that Walsh has accepted an offer from the USA Boxing Association and that his departure from Ireland was imminent. The report added that the relationship between Walsh and the governing body for boxing in Ireland had irrevocably broken down.

Mr Ring added that he does not want to see Walsh leave and expressed the view that he hoped something could be worked out with the Irish Sports Council and Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to keep the highly regarded coach in Ireland.

“I was surprised to hear Billy Walsh was leaving Irish boxing,” said Mr Ring this afternoon. “In a personal capacity and as Minister for Sport I do not want to see Billy Walsh going and I hope at this stage something can be done to keep him in the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.”

Second Captains

There has been long standing friction between the IABA and a number of its High Performance coaching staff that goes back some way with Walsh’s apparent decision to leave the culmination of years of frustration over how the sport is run and his ability to making boxing decisions without referring to the Boxing Council.

Katie Taylor and her father Pete have also had a fractious relationship with the governing body since a shambolic press conference a number of years ago. Staged to outline Ireland’s hopes to hold the 2013 Women’s European Championships, Taylor was asked to speak about her preparations and hopes for the event. When she left, IABA official Tommy Murphy conceded that Ireland would not be hosting the championships. Taylor had not been told.

Walsh and the Irish boxing team recently returned from the men’s European Championships with two gold medals and a bronze. Since his involvement in the High Performance end of Irish boxing, Ireland have been regular medal winners at European, World and Olympic levels.

In London 2012 Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan won bronze medals, John Joe Nevin silver and Katie Taylor gold. Four years earlier in Beijing Kenneth Egan won silver with Darren Sutherland and Barnes winning bronze. The only other Olympic medal won by Ireland at either Games was in showjumping.

Despite several attempts the contact the IABA, officials were unavailable for comment this afternoon.

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