Des Donnelly (second from right), who works as caretaker for St Declan's NS in Ashbourne, brought members of the Irish team Darren O'Neill, Michael Conlon and John Joe Nevin to meet the students before the end of the school year.
Coordinating and managing six Olympic boxers is not for the fainthearted, but that's just what Irish Team Manager Des Donnelly has been doing during these Olympic Games.
The Ashbourne man was appointed to this role after the 2008 Olympics and has spent the last four years ensuring that his athletes are in exactly the right place at precisely the right time. His job is to focus through the circus that is the Olympic Games and make sure everything runs smoothly.
As team manager he has travelled the world as the team took on as many international opponents as possible to prepare themselves for London. They went directly from a training camp in Assisi to London, arriving a few days earlier to allow the team to take in the atmosphere and then settle in to do what they'd been training for for so long. Des's memories of London 2012 won't be fading anytime soon, "Brilliant, absolutely fantastic, it was a great experience" is how he sums it up.
Since being appointed team manager Des has seen his team take two world championships and two European championships and a European Union championship. In his care were Katie Taylor, Darren O'Neill, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlon, Paddy Barnes and Adam Nolan and he obviously couldn't be prouder, "We had six boxers over there altogether, so bringing back four medals from six boxers is great. The coaches will be in the gym with the boxers every day while my job is to take care of the logistics, look after the lads' welfare and make sure that they have everything they need."
Des is well used to looking after boxers as he runs Ashbourne Boxing Club. A keen hurling supporter, Des has lived between Ashbourne and Curragha for around 39 years and the club has been operating for nearly 32 years. "The club has been especially popular in the last couple of years and we expect a renewed interest this year, following the success of our team in London. We have a few girls training with us too but I think Katie has been an excellent advertisement for women's boxing, letting girls knows that it is open to them too."
The club is open to all, with most members aged between ten and twenty. Training began this week. Call (087) 6107333 for more information.