Dennis Walsh: "The IABA is a basket case now"

Walsh spoke to Oisin Langan about Gary Keegan's new role with the Cork Hurling team

Gary Keegan,

Gary Keegan ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The appointment of former IABA high-performance director Gary Keegan to the Cork Hurling team is a major coup, according to Dennis Walsh. 

Cork were dumped out of this year's All-Ireland by Wexford, losing to the Leinster side for the first time in the championship in 60 years. 

Speaking to Off The Ball's Oisin Langan, Walsh of the Sunday Times said: "People need to realise what a coup this is getting Gary Keegan in. The IABA, the boxing association is a basket case now, but it was an unbelievable basket case 12, 14 years ago. And Gary was an IABA person trying to impose modern thinking and modern sports science on a really traditional old-fashioned, backward-looking organisation.

"He faced unbelievable opposition and conflict to get that up and running. There's no long history of success in Irish boxing. There was sporadic success going back 30, 40 years. We were an absolute joke in international terms before Gary Keegan. He wrote Irish boxing's first high-performance plan and he implemented it."  

"He's the guy that hired Billy Walsh. He's the guy that hired Zaur Antia. He's the guy that had the vision. Now he moved on after Beijing to the Irish Institute of Sport and now he's moving on again into a consultancy type of situation. I'm fascinated to see what he can bring to it."    

"I interviewed Gary Keegan in Beijing in 2008. The politics was so poisonous that he wasn't given an accreditation. He didn't have official accreditation for the Olympics. He was watching it from the stands like a punter, but yet he was the guy that got those boxers to that point. So he was dealing with poisonous politics for four or five years and he had the courage and the stamina to drive it through."

"Billy Walsh was a huge part of it but he was above Billy. He gave Billy the platform to be successful," he added.