Sports

Fegan's fighters rise to top

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Fegan's fighters rise to top thumbnail THE winners from Cathal Fegan's School of Tae Kwon-Do.

CATHAL Fegan's Tae Kwon-Do club is celebrating their biggest ever medal haul, which makes them one of the most successful clubs in the country.

Most recently they collected an incredible 61 medals, including a magnificent 25 gold medals at the All-Ireland Finals, which took place in Dublin's Roadstone Social Club.

Cathal Fegan, Aoife Loye, Joe McKeown, Paul McLearnon, Brandon McArdle, Dermot Mathers, Peter Hannan, Lana Mathers, Jack Carragher, Ethan O'Kane, Stephanie Walsh, Sinead Heaney, Marcus Amcevskis, Molly Brito, Tomas McKeever, Benny Duffy, Lee Morgan, Maria McGourty, Lucy Duffy, Jack Sarsfields, Chris McClory and Oisin Rooney are the 25 All-Ireland Champions.

Fegan's team is made up of members from his four clubs - the Mourne Country Newry Club, Warrenpoint Club, Newtown Club and his Silverbridge Club.

It has been a whirlwind year for Fegan's team as over the past 12 months they have been crowned World Champions, Ulster Champions, won the Waterford Crystal Open, Cork Open, won in the German Open and then last weekend cemented 25 All-Ireland Championship winners, which makes them one of the most successful teams in the country.

"The goal five years ago was to be the most successful club in Northern Ireland and I won that three years in a row, so naturally our next target was to be the most successful club in all Ireland and we have achieved that this year," said Fegan.

"To do better than last year makes me really happy. We had a lot of first-timers to win gold medals this year, which shows what we are doing is working and we are being successful." And the Silverbridge mentor and fighter believes there is more to come from his students and he believes he has the competitors capable of competing in the Olympics.

"No-one from Ireland has ever competed in Tae Kwon Do at the Olympics," said Fegan.

"I know if the right path was opened up we could work towards that route because we have member who are good enough." St Joseph's High School Crossmaglen student Aoife Loye and Our Lady's Grammar School student Maria McGourty are two fighters that Fegan has in mind.

"These girls and a few of the boys have been putting in 14 hours of Tae Kwon Do training a week alone, never-mind that they have schoolwork to do too," said Fegan.

"Maria is doing her GCSEs and Aoife is in middle of her A-Levels but Aoife could potentially forget about going to College and make a career out of fighting in Tae Kwon Do if she wanted to." However, with little leadership or guidance from the Stormont Executive Fegan feels his fighters are being denied the proper funding that would enable them to compete at the Olympics.

"The funding is available with Sport NI but they have stopped giving money out,"said Fegan.

"It's frustrating because the talent is there and they have been trained for success. There is definitely one or two that could push for the team and that team would be one of the best in the world, so the chances of medals are high."

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