Wild Geese have always longed to share their achievements abroad with home. When they left Ireland in 1691, Patrick Sarsfield and his followers dreamed they would return home. Although many did not, today their dream is realised by Irish talent in all fields.
This weekend Ireland’s boxing team leave for the World Championships held in Kazakhstan with hopes of bring home medals.
One of the leading members of the team is Paddy Barnes who is confident that this will be an opportunity to make a serious impact in the boxing community.
Barnes has already won Olympic, European and Commonwealth medals and his regarded as the best amateur boxer in his native Northern Ireland. He is the world no. 3 and the only major medal missing from the list is a World Championship and Barnes hopes to remedy that in Kazakhstan.
‘I’d be really happy with a medal because it’s the only one I’ve never got, I think this is my year’
‘You’re always training for a gold medal, anything else and you’re second best. But for me, I’d be really happy with a World medal’
A medal win in Kazakhstan may be a turning point for Barnes and present an opportunity to go pro. Despite his success, barnes has not been approached with a professional contract and he’s hoping a win at the World Championship will change that.
But the World Championships are the toughest boxing tournament out there and Barnes is going to have to be on his A game. Fortunately, like the original Wild Geese in 1691, camaraderie runs through the Irish team and their coach, Billy Walsh, thinks it could be his year as well:
‘Paddy is in great shape, he has been working very hard and if he performs to his best there’s no reason why he can’t get a medal’
Over the summer, Barnes took home a silver medal from the European Championship, narrowly missing out on the finals due to injury. Next year he’s also planning to train for Rio 2016 and add to his Olympic medal wins.