Longford may just have got itself a brand new boxing star in the shape of talented light welterweight Barry Kilemade.
That’s because the 32-year-old is celebrating this week following his recent capture of the Connacht light welterweight title in Sligo.
The self trained fighter, who has spent arguably more time coaching as he has in competitive action, had to endure a tense split decision before eventually sealing his first amateur title.
Ironically, that victory came over former Longford town soccer star Colin Jinks, the Lanesboro boxing club protege admitted couldn’t have been tighter.
“I thought I wouldn’t get it (verdict) as I was fighting a Sligo fella in Sligo,” he said, despite seeing his hopes dented after losing the last round.
“I was never sure, but when the result was announced it was a brilliant feeling. It was great to get it too because the other fella had all his support there while I had none. It was that bad, they (crowd) were even cheering when he was missing shots.”
As those hooks and attempted body punches failed to connect with the Longford boxer’s dimunitive frame, there was one man in Barry’s corner who could barely contain his delight.
Gerry Rehill, a veteran of the international amateur game, said there was a lot to like about his fellow Longford native’s path to glory.
“He boxed well and deserved it in the end,” he said in a brief exchange with the Leader this week.
That said, it’s perhaps hard to understand why the Kilemade name has taken so long to emerge on the domestic amateur circuit.
Pressed with that very question earlier this week, Barry confided breaking into the 64kg weight class was more difficult than he had earlier imagined.
“It was getting the fights, that was the problem,” he said.
Unfazed by those difficulties Barry’s love for the game never wavered, an appreciation he puts down to his aptly named home gym or ‘torture chamber’ from where he reguarly trains.
Now the polished performer and new Connacht champion is setting his sights on even loftier ambitions as 2012 draws to a close.
“I am looking at the All-Ireland championships next year,” he said, when outling his blueprint for next season. “I’ll have a go at that and give it my best.”