Bantry teenager Sean Brady (15) has the sporting world at his feet
SEAN Brady has the kickboxing world at his feet, literally.
In September, the Bantry teenager (15) became a world champion when he fought his way to gold in his category (-69kg) at the WAKO junior world championships held in Dublin.
It was a stunning achievement for the Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí student, who is also a talented footballer with St Colum’s and is on the Rebel Óg U15 football panel; he’s an all-round athlete, with basketball another of his sporting passions.
Naturally, his father Bernard is bursting with pride at his son’s fantastic achievement.
‘His goals at the start of the year were to try and get on the Cork football panel, try to get on the Irish kickboxing panel and to study hard for his Junior Cert. He achieved all three goals, and exceeded all expectations, which is fantastic. We’re all very proud of him,’ beamed Bernard, who runs ION Kickboxing Club, which Sean is a member of.
Already a six-time national champion (four titles in light continuous and two in kick light) and now a world champ, in what was his first international competition, Sean enjoyed the journey as much as he did the rewards, having first punched and kicked kickboxing pads when he was four years old.
‘The Brady family live and breathe kickboxing,’ explains Bernard, and it’s hard to argue with him.
Originally from Dublin, the Brady family moved to Coomhola outside Bantry eight years ago. Bernard himself has been involved in kickboxing for 20 years and has represented Ireland twice – winning silver at the 2014 European Kickboxing Championships in Slovenia and also competing in the 2015 World Kickboxing Championships in Dublin. He has also won national intermediate and veteran’s titles.
Sean, the eldest of Bernard and Doreen’s five kids, is now a world champion while Oisin is a two-time national champion, and Ciara and Oran and also involved in kickboxing, and the youngest, Bernard, is keen to follow in his siblings’ footsteps.
Sean has certainly led the way in the sporting arena and the next challenge for him is to make the step-up to junior level.
‘He is moving from U16 to junior, which is for 16 to 18 year olds – that’s another big step for him,’ his father and coach Bernard explained.
‘He will be moving up to junior level in the nationals, and he will have three years as a junior now before he becomes a senior.’
Bernard emphasises to Sean, his kids and his students at ION Kickboxing Club that ‘it’s not all about winning, it’s about the journey’, and he encourages the freedom of expression.
‘You have to be able to express yourself and not be held back by restrictions. Kickboxing is a great sport, it teaches you discipline, it gives you confidence and it gives you tools you can carry forward in life,’ he says.
‘I’m a great believer that you can become or achieve anything you want to in life, as long as you work hard enough to get it.’
His eldest son, and now world champion, is testament to that. In 2013 Sean, 12 at the time, was on his way home after winning his third national kickboxing title when he told his father that he heard that Ireland was hosting the 2016 WAKO junior world championships. Sean said that he wanted to win the national title in 2016 and earn the chance to represent Ireland at these championships.
True to his word, Sean achieved his goal last month, beating Polish champion Bartek Grat, British and European champion Tom Symons, Luca Wanger from Liechtenstein and fellow Irish fighter Brian Donnegan on his way to world kickboxing title.
It’s also important to recognise that Vinny Murphy (Combat Kickboxing) and Ian Kingston (West Cork Kickboxing Club) have also played important roles in helping Sean mature into the competitor that he is, as Bernard explains what helps make Sean so good.
‘Sean is physically strong and dynamic, he’s fast and he’s aware, and most importantly he’s smart. He wants to have a clean fight. Also, he’s confident in his own abilities, whether it’s football or kickboxing, but what stands out is his attitude; he is very humble,’ Bernard said.
For more info on ION Kickboxing Club phone 085-1561248, email [email protected] or check out the club’s Facebook page.
On Tuesday night at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, Sean Brady received a Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star quarterly award for his WAKO junior world kickboxing championship gold medal, while Bantry’s Grainne Begley (15) of West Cork Kickboxing Club also picked up a West Cork Youth Sports Star quarterly award as she, too, won a gold medal at the worlds in Dublin.