LIMERICK boxer Willie Casey has expressed his delight at the Olympic achievement of fellow Irish Traveller John Joe Nevin.
Following the Mullingar fighter’s historic London 2012 display, Casey was quick to acknowledge Nevin’s fantastic achievement in attaining a silver medal.
“I am absolutely over the moon for John Joe Nevin, what a fantastic achievement. He delivered top class performances to beat some of the world’s top fighters, he should be so proud of what he has done.”
Himself a former European champion and world title challenger, Casey has never been hesitant in announcing his proud traveller roots and believes Nevin’s exploits in London will be a massive boost for his family as well as members of the travelling community around Ireland and further afield.
“I can imagine how proud the Nevin family are feeling this morning having watched their lad win at silver medal on the biggest sporting stage of them all. I know there might be a little disappointment that he didn’t get the gold but at the end of the day he got the silver which is an amazing achievement
“What a fantastic time for everyone in Mullingar and I was delighted to see so many people out supporting him. It’s great for all members of the Travelling community, particularly young people; my own children were so excited watching him over the last two weeks.”
John Joe Nevin has become the first Irish Traveller to take home a medal from an Olympic games and Casey is hopeful it will be catalyst for greater change in people’s attitudes towards the Travelling community.
Following Nevin’s disappointment at Mullingar Co Council for failing to provide a sending off event for him prior to his London departure, Casey was happy to see the powers that be got their act together for the semi-final and Saturday’s final with a public screening of the fight.
“I was thrilled for John Joe’s family and the people of Mullingar that they got the opportunity to celebrate his success.
As a fellow Traveller I fully understand how John Joe must have felt, it can be very disheartening. John Joe was doing the business on the world boxing stage before he went to the Olympics, representing his Country and town all over the world, and they ignored him before he left for London, it was a disgrace.
“Well now he will be bringing home a silver medal, so they won’t be able to ignore that I hope.
“It is awful that such a great ambassador for Irish sport over the last couple of years has to put up with this type of issue,” said Casey.
The overall performance of the Irish boxing team that resulted in a four medal haul left Casey in awe, with the Limerick southpaw hoping their success will see greater support for Ireland’s giant killers.
“Every one of them was fantastic over there, to bring back four medals is unbelievable, it really is. They showed that we are one of the top boxing nations in the world.”