Former Western Gaels and Roscommon footballer Donal Ward from Loughglynn recently qualified for the finals of the world famous New York Ring Masters boxing tournament, (formerly know as Golden Gloves). Ward had played for Roscommon from 2010 to 2015 before emigrating to the Big Apple in 2018 and lining out for New York in that year’s championship against Leitrim. He now works at Sissy McGinty’s Bar in Queens.
Ward had started boxing in his native Loughglynn Boxing Club under the watchful eye of his father Frank. He has won various national titles and even made an Elite Senior semi-final.
Donal had worked as a prison officer in Cloverhill Prison in Dublin, and made national sporting headlines when he was injured while breaking up a fight between two inmates in June 2015 prior to Roscommon’s Connacht championship semi-final against Sligo.
He also represented the Irish Prison Service in the ring, winning a gold medal in the 81kg category at the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast.
At this year’s Ring Masters competition, Ward beat defending champion Brett Pastore in his opening fight before overcoming Emmanuel White in the quarter-finals and Hosam Adeldayem in the semi-finals. He will now step into the squared circle at the world famous Madison Square Garden on April 19th for this year’s finals, becoming the first Irish man since Westmeath’s Alo Kelly in 1998 to do so.
He’s in good company at the New York Ring Masters competition too as Brian Glynn from Galway has won two fights and is through to the Novice Heavyweight semi-final.
All eyes will be on the former Roscommon and Western Gaels back, however, as he attempts to emerge victorious at the Garden.