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Our Publicans’ Son Raised The Bar

by Jimmy Rhatigan

A son of Kilkenny raised the bar in Galway sport when he founded a kickboxing club there a quarter of a century ago.

Galway Black Dragon Kickboxing Club was the brainchild the Parliament Street man Pete Foley.

Pete, a son of publicans Tom and Norah Foley started the Black Dragon Club in St Patrick’s School Hall in Lombard Street, Galway on March 27, 1996.

Thirty seven adults showed up for the first class and the club has gone from strength to strength and is now based in an impressive gym on Seán Mulvoy Road.

Pete has brought fighters from all over the World to Galway promoting exciting fight nights in local hotels as well as exciting scraps in Leisureland and the Black Box Theatre.

Pete sparring with his son Finn, a national champion who also won the 2019 U12 Unified World Championships in Italy after fighting opponents from six countries over four days

The club helped to raise almost €300,000 for charities such as the Irish Heart Foundation, Galway Hospice, Blood Bike West, Abalta Special School, Galway Rape Crisis Centre and Madra Dog Rescue with White Collar Boxing Programmes.

The club regularly travels around the world competing in high level competition and members have become Irish, European and World Champions.
Our Pete Foley is enthusiastically involved in training Transition Year students in basic boxing, kickboxing, self-defence and street awareness programmes as part of PE classes.
Tragedy struck on March 12, 2011 when the club gym was destroyed by fire but like the Phoenix, the club rose from the ashes.

Pete in London in 1996 as he planned to open a club in Galway.

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