Council Chair recognises achievements of young boxer, Shane Duke

1st April 2022

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The Chair of the Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, recently hosted a reception at the Council Offices in honour of young local boxer, Shane Duke to recognise his achievements. Please see below, text of his speech at the reception.

Distinguished guests, Councillors, Ladies and gentlemen 

I am delighted to welcome you all to the Council Offices here in Omagh this evening for this reception in recognition of Shane Duke and his recent achievements in boxing. 

Shane, I understand you started boxing at the age of 8 with Sacred Heart Boxing Club, however, you decided boxing wasn’t for you.  Your dad Sean, who is also your coach, joined Omagh Boxing Academy and started a 6-10 year old class which reignited your interest in the sport, if not your interest in taking part in competitions. 

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on so many aspects of our lives including sport and sadly Omagh Boxing Academy closed.  You did not let this stop you and, during lockdown, you continued to maintain your fitness through running until your dad opened Duke’s Boxing Gym in June 2021.  It was at this time that you decided you wanted to enter the competitive ring and just 4 months later, on 28 October 2021, you secured your first Ulster title.  Your next fight was on 9 November 2021 where you achieved a Gold medal and a second Ulster title.  Your success continued with an All-Ireland semi final win on 4 December 2021 followed by your first National Title on 11 December 2021. 

The famous boxer Sugar Ray Leonard once said “Boxing is the ultimate challenge. There’s nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you step in the ring.”

Shane, at the young age of 15 and being relatively new to the competitive arena, you have certainly risen to the challenge. You have, in such a short time, achieved so much. Not only are you still unbeaten, but you have yet to lose a round in any of your fights.,.  This is a remarkable achievement and one that you can be rightly proud of.

Your determination and commitment to training, even during the lockdown period, is admirable and will be an inspiration to other young people in any sporting field.  You have been an excellent ambassador for the Fermanagh and Omagh District and I am confident that you will achieve further success in the years to come.

On behalf of the Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to congratulate you and I wish you every success for the future.