Eamonn McCann - More investment needed

In the wake of the Olympic success of our boxers, there have been the usual pledges of greater resources being put into the sport and in particular into nurturing the grass roots. We should keep an eye on this, too.

There is a pattern of channelling help to the clubs which have produced winners - which is probably inevitable and, in a way, fair enough.

But the amounts of money are always finite, and what one club gains others are deprived of.

The Holy Family Club in Belfast is housed in what’s little more than a leaky shed. The club has applied for a new build - an extension if not new premises. Anybody who begrudged them would be, well, a begrudger. But any building project is going to require a sizable chunk of the £3.2 million budgeted for the North, leaving significantly less for distribution to the sport generally.

Derry has six amateur boxing clubs - the Oak Leaf, St. Mary’s, the Ring, St. Joseph’s, Eglinton and Springtown. Without exception, they are in dire need of better facilities. And Ulster is in dire need of a high-performance training facility. At the moment, Derry boxers have to travel to Dublin. Even if a centre of excellence – with top-of-the-range equipment and a professional trainer – were situated in Belfast, Derry clubs would welcome it: travelling back and forth to Dublin is no preparation for serious work in the ring.