Mountmellick town council recently bestowed their highest honour of a Civic Reception to local man Shane Culleton ‘s martial arts club.
The reception in the library was attended by club members, their families , the town council and town manager Ian McCormack.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Paddy Bracken congratulated head coach Shane and coach Thomas Dunne for contributing to their community.
“Over the past seven years you have promoted Kickboxing in Laois, fostering and nurturing what is good in our community. You have provided people of all ages with a positive and motivated environment to train and progress in the sport. It is some achievement,” said Cllr Bracken.
The club began in 2006 and now has over 90 members. Recently Shane opened Laois’ first fulltime kickboxing gym, in Mountmellick Town Hall.
He has produced three of the youngest Black Belts In Ireland, two All National Junior Kickboxing Champions, and five WOMMA World Kickboxing Champions.
The coaches and each little champion received a citation from Cllr Bracken.
They included: Oisin Marron, 2013 all Ireland Light Contact Silver Medallist; Matthew McGinley, 2013 WOMMA World Champion; Peter Dunne, 2013 WOMMA World Championships Bronze Medallist, Byron Sage, 2012 WOMMA Light Contact World Championships Bronze Medallist and 2013 National Light Contact Junior Champion.
Shane’s niece Chloe Culleton, one of the youngest Black belts in Ireland at the age of 9, is 2012 WOMMA Light Contact World Champion, 2013 National Light Contact Junior Champion and 2013WOMMA Light Contact World Champion. JP Daly also one of the youngest Black belts in Ireland at the age of 11, is 2013 all Ireland Silver Medallist; Martine Daly is 2013 all Ireland Semi Contact Kickboxing Silver Medallist and 2013 WOMMA Light Contact World Champion. Connal Conroy received his citation for “constant dedication to training and competition, showing true spirit”, Nicole McInerney is aWOMMA World Champion and 2013 All Ireland Bronze Medallist and Joeleen McInerney, a WOMMA World Champion.
Town Manager Ian McCormick congratulated them.
“You are truly inspirational people, a credit to yourselves. To get to the level you have got, takes true grit and determination,” he said.
Shane thanked club secretary Barbara Culleton, and also the late Cllr Pat Bowe “for getting the ball rolling”.
“I wanted to do something positive for my town, I believe everyone can grow in the right environment. Be proud of what you have achieved, where you come from, and be a role model, the best you can be,” he urged his pupils.