Preparations are well underway for the ‘Clash of the Codes’ boxing event between Eoghan Rua GAA and Coleraine Rugby Club on April 9.
The fun fundraising evening starts with a celebrity dinner in the clubhouse before the main event in a massive marquee on the pitch at Coleraine Rugby Club.
There will be a series of ladies and gents bouts, strictly refereed, but no doubt they will all be hotly contested. Although nearly all tickets have been accounted for there may still be a few seats left for the dinner.
The boxers from both clubs have been putting in hours of preparation at Skerries and Coleraine ABCs. This week we caught up with some of the lady boxers.
Amy Chestnutt is the captain of Coleraine Cobras, the Ladies Rugby side and Claire Adams is a key member of the Coleraine Hockey team. As well as having fantastic hockey and rugby seasons both girls have been training hard with Coleraine ABC despite the fact that neither like getting hit in the face.
They have taken time out to think about why they are getting into the boxing ring.
Why did you volunteer to take part in the Clash of the Codes?
Amy: Harry, my boyfriend, has taken part in a white collar boxing event before. The first time Kiwi told us about it Harry said I definitely wasn’t allowed to compete. Typically, my name was first on the list after hearing that!
Claire: Simply because no one else from the hockey club was silly enough to agree to take part!
What did you think when you first got punched in the face?
Amy: I was honestly absolutely terrified - it’s taken me weeks to get used the shock of getting punched. But I’ve worked hard on my guard to avoid getting hit at all costs!
Claire: Why am I putting myself through this, I hate this - can I please drop out??
What have you liked about the training?
Amy: Adam, Dean, John and Ryan have been absolutely amazing throughout the whole process, I’ve learned so much from them and they really encourage and push us every session. I absolutely love the circuits and in particular the focus on core. My fitness has improved massively and I only have them to thank. Still hate the sparring though and could be continuing to train at Coleraine ABC but ‘accidentally’ forgetting my gum shield every week!
Claire: Besides the banter at every session the only other thing that’s good is hearing the words “that’s us for tonight guys!”
Has the training changed your perception of boxing?
Amy: Since Anthony Joshua came on the British boxing scene I have taken a keen interest, but I have to admit it’s always been for the love of his six pack not love of the sport. So I definitely have a new found respect for boxers everywhere - it’s a tough sport and requires so much dedication and commitment.
Claire: Before this I could never understand why someone would want to put themselves into the ring to get punched or punch at someone else. I am still asking this question now but yeah, it takes a lot of guts and courage to get into the ring so I’ve a lot more respect for boxers.
What will you take back to your own sport?
Amy: I’ll be beasting the ladies in pre-season with some very tight circuits - bet they can’t wait.
Claire: Fitness and strength has definitely improved since training has begun so this has had a massive impact when playing hockey. I’m able to breeze through our tough fitness sessions now.
What’s your aim on the night?
Amy: I’m not willing to give away too much of my game plan in case Niamh is reading this! But I’m in it to win it.
Who’s the best boxer, in your opinion?
Amy: The best female is definitely Juliette Gaston, I hope her Eoghan Rua match is ready because she has hurt me a few times in ‘light sparring’ and I’m just pleased I’m not stepping in the ring with her! Best males is a tough call between Steven Dickey and Mickey Poskitt, both will be awesome fights to watch!
Claire: Girls – Juliet or Aimee, Boys – Mikey or Dickey
Will you continue boxing after the Clash of the Codes is over?
Amy: I’d like to keep up club training on Tuesday and Thursdays if Coleraine ABC will have me! But I’ll let you know if I’ll be picking up the gloves again after April 9th.
Claire: Yes. I would definitely like to keep the training going if the trainers at Coleraine ABC are happy to do so as they are extremely good! Unsure I’ll ever step into a ring again though, but we shall see how the 9th April goes and I might actually enjoy it - haha
Not to be outdone the ladies at Eoghan Rua have also been giving their all. Helen Carey plays camogie but says the boxing training helps deal with frustrations in life. Niamh Archibald, also a camogie player has enjoyed the training, especially reliving her childhood devotion in skipping.
Why volunteer to do clash of the codes?
Helen: My husband is always banging on that rugby is better than GAA so I thought I would settle this score once and for all!
Niamh: I’m not sure volunteering is the word I would use, more like conscription by Adelle.
First punch in face?
Helen: It was Grainne mcGoldrick and I remember thinking “wow that was a good one”. I said it out loud to her but unknown to me, I had planted one on Grainne pretty much at same time and she thought I was gloating about the right hand I had landed on her! Oops!
Niamh: **** ****
What have I liked about the training?
Helen: Getting to know other people in the club that I didn’t know as well before and obviously loving the six pack the training has given me.
Niamh: Learning to skip. When I was younger mum would tell me that skipping would make me taller...needless to say at 5 foot I mustn’t have been too good.
Has training changed my perception of boxing?
Helen: Yes, absolutely. I always thought boxers must be the fittest sports people out there but now I know they really are. It’s such a technical sport and so much to remember.
Niamh: No, Dad and Rocky Movies did that.
What can I take back to my own sport?
Helen: A right hook when the ref isn’t looking!
Niamh: Wouldn’t mind taking the gloves. I’m sure there’ll plenty of potential opponents!
What’s your aim on the night?
Helen: My aim of the night is to win and to enjoy myself and get rather drunk after it all!
Niamh: To remember that I’m not staring in a Rocky movie
Who is the best boxer?
Helen: Joe “Rocky” Diamond and Niall “Ali” Holly. Both are like machines.
Niamh: It would be foolish not to name myself.
Anyone not doing it that could do a decent job?
Helen: Orlagh Mullan aka “bombs”. Let’s just say there’s a good reason why she has that nickname!
Niamh: Ashling Carey
Do you think you will continue boxing after Clash of the codes?
Helen: Definitely. I get all my frustrations out on the pads so I’m a much nicer person these days!
Niamh: Talk to me after.