Dunne's vast experience and role with Jim Gavin's Dublin made him the 'perfect candidate'

The former world champion was today appointed as the IABA’s new high performance director.

BERNARD DUNNE’S STATURE as a former world and European champion and his recent work with the Dublin senior football team made him stand out as the ‘perfect candidate’ for the role of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s (IABA) new high performance director.

Bernard Dunne and Fergal Carruth with Darren O'Neill, Christina Desmond, Brendan Irvine and Joe Ward Bernard Dunne with IABA CEO Fergal Carruth and boxers Darren O'Neill, Christina Desmond, Brendan Irvine and Joe Ward. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dunne was this morning unveiled as the IABA’s appointment for the position which was last held by Gary Keegan in 2008 after emerging as the ‘unanimous winner’ from an extensive recruitment process.

The 37-year-old, a 13-time national champion, will now work alongside head coach Zaur Antia as they look to revive Irish boxing’s fortunes after a disastrous Rio Olympics which saw the eight boxer team return home with no medals.

The appointment of a high performance director was one of 30 recommendations set out by Sport Ireland in the recently published ‘Rio Review’ report into the performance at the 2016 Games.

Speaking at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown this morning, IABA CEO Fergal Carruth says the appointment of Dunne was the perfect fit for all parties and described it as a ‘really important day in the history of Irish boxing’.

“We’re really, really pleased,” Carruth said.

“We’re delighted, it was a very intense, robust and rigorous interview process that Bernard went through and he emerged as the successful candidate. We believe for many reasons he’s come to the IABA at the right time for him and also the association.

“It was intense, it was robust but he certainly came out as the unanimous winner within the process itself. In that regard, he made it a bit easier for us.”

Dunne, who now leaves his role as performance and lifestyle coach with Jim Gavin’s Dublin, beat off stiff competition from applicants from both Ireland and internationally with former Ireland rugby head coach Eddie O’Sullivan and American Modern Pentathlon performance director Scott Novack among those reportedly interviewed.

Bernard Dunne Dunne at this morning's press conference. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Carruth confirmed that the IABA received applications from ‘high profile’ people from other sports and the association were open to recruiting a candidate without a boxing background.

“Some would see the high performance function as a business function within the sport so we were very open to bring in someone from outside the sport also,” he added.

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“It wasn’t absolutely necessary to have boxing experience to carry out the role but it was beneficial and Bernard was the candidate with the most experience in boxing. But also his work with the Dublin football team has been really, really beneficial to him and stood out.

“It will be a great advantage for him coming into the role.”

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Ryan Bailey

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