Brian O’Donnell Memorial Tournament

Brian O'Donnell
1957 - 2014

This inaugural tournament was held on Sunday 16th November 2014 in the Dick Hearns Sports and Fitness Centre, Mercy Rd., Ballina at 3.30 p.m. It is most fitting that this tournament finds a key slot in the Mayo boxing calendar in view of the fact that the late Brian O’Donnell had a lifelong love of the sport, was an inspiration to many, and gave so much back in later life. He first entered the ring at the tender age of 10 and continued his involvement with the sport right to his dying day on 29th August 2014, at 57 years of age. He competed at all levels in the sport and his finest achievement was to capture the All Ireland Youth Championship title in 1973 and the following year the RTÉ Ringside title, on top of the much coveted Western People Sports Star Award.  To those who knew him he got as much joy out of coaching, mentoring, refereeing and judging on the national and international stage as he got from competing and he always had an eagle eye for spotting talent and encouraging young boxers when they may have needed a fatherly pat on the back. He believed in the coaching of the younger boxers in particular and was instrumental in ensuring boxers as young as 8 years had an outlet for their exuberance at the club, and he regarded them as every bit as important as the boxer who had won a national title.  He would be regarded as a complete boxer in that he was there at all levels and his contribution to Irish boxing will not be easy to surpass. The present generation will remember him as the man who nightly opened the club doors, without fail, greeted each by name as they entered the club, and they regarded him as a father figure, and rightly so.
Every young boxer in the Ballina Boxing Club will be very eager to win the Brian O’Donnell Memorial Trophy in the years ahead. This fine trophy was donated by his widow Pauline and will be presented annually to the club person who has shown loyalty, commitment, and dedication whether inside the ring or outside. We believe that is what Brian would have wanted, and what he expected from those who were put in in his charge.

Brian is sadly missed by his family and many friends at home and abroad, Ballina Boxing Club and the wider boxing community in Mayo and throughout Ireland. May he rest in peace and may those who loved him be comforted.

The 2015 Brian O'Donnell Memorial Tournament took place on Sunday 22nd November at the Dick Hearns Sports and Fitness Centre before a large crowd. Tournament Inspector Patrick McDonagh complimented the club coaches involved in doing an exemplary job at matching which ensured many very fine close contests, with the result in the balance right to the end in many cases. Billy Rice of Knockmore/Foxford BC and Gerry Heneghan of Aglish BC did an excellent job of refereeing, ensuring that the safety of those in the ring with them was paramount, interrupting proceedings only when necessary, and ensuring that the ever-loyal Order of Malta personnel at ringside were not called into service. The appearance of Jenny Murray, Eagle BC and Charlotte Murray, Aglish BC, as judges gave assurance to the female boxers that all would be well, and they were ably assisted by Richie Davey, Tobar Pheadair BC, Brian Roche, Castlebar BC as well as Darragh Fahy, Charlestown BC. Time-keeper was Gerry Hickey and Vince Hearns, club PRO, did the Record Books. Vincent McMahon, club secretary, was MC. There were representatives of four generations of the O'Donnell family present, including the oldest member, Hughie O'Donnell, and Brian's widow Pauline who was there with family members, including twice Olympic winner, her son Ian. As proceeding were coming to a close, the Brian O'Donnel Memorial Trophy was presented to Rose Margaret McDonagh for her loyalty to the club and to training, her gentle patient way, her inter-personal skills and the way she conducts herself at all times -- a huge asset to any club.

Results, Ballina named first:

Jonathan McDonagh beat Owen Doherty, Geesala

Chloe McDonagh and Holly Connolly, Ballaghadereen gave a very fine


Megan Maloney beat Maura McAndrew, Geesala

Lee Hastings lost to Sean Flaherty, Connemara

Jamie Collins beat Matt Nee, Connemara

Stephen Lawrence beat Tom Ward, Castlebar

Adam Carr lost to Oisín O'Brien, Connemara

Tom Ward beat Hugh McGuire, Gort

Cathan Hallinan lost to Sean Deaire, Ballaghadereen

Caroline McDonagh lost to Jessica Connolly, Ballaghadereen

Rachel Furey Cunningham beat Sophie Bourke, Gort

Dylan Lavelle lost to Ciarán Doherty, Geesala

Martin McDonagh beat Willie J. Maughan, Castlebar

Owen J. Ward beat Padraic McDonagh, Connemara

Tommy Lawrence beat Jamie Collins

Martin Warde lost to Terence Ward, Eagle


Ballina boxers and club officials at the Brian O'Donnell Memorial Tournament 22nd November 2015