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Crosshaven Taekwondo Club’s New Black Belts

Crosshaven Taekwondo Club’s New Black Belts

At the Taekwondo Ireland Black belt grading in Carrigaline Community Hall on Saturday 30th April, after a gruelling day, Dougie McKirdy and Emma O’Connell of Crosshaven Taekwondo club were successful in gaining their first-degree Black belts. In front of examiners Master Michael Burke 7th degree, Master Dermot Walsh 7th degree and Mr. Ger Allen 6th degree, they demonstrated techniques, performed patterns, sparring and breaking boards.


When Dougie started training with the club in 2015, he was already into his 50s, the average age of attaining a black belt is 18, so he got used to people saying, ‘are you not a bit old for that’ and decided if I start thinking I’m too old then I will be, don’t think it, just do it. It is also a tremendous form of stress relief at the end of a day, Taekwondo is great for general fitness, cardio and flexibility not to mention the Self-defense aspect of it, and getting the occasional black eye is worth it.


Emma is a relative newcomer, joining the club in 2017, from the very start she was always the most enthusiastic student, eager to learn more advanced techniques than were required of her, entering every competition so she could to gain more experience, and winning quite a few medals along the way.

Dougie and Emma also joined Team Ireland for the 2018 world championships in Birmingham, with 6 months of intense training before it, both won their first-round fights, Dougie getting narrowly beaten in the second round, with Emma getting to the ladies final and coming away with a very commendable silver medal.

They were coached from beginner white belts by Mr. Tommy Burns, even through Covid restrictions, training outdoors, socially distanced, sometimes in the rain or when in strictest lockdown, by Zoom in the house.

Tommy Burns sadly passed away last November and both dedicate their achievement to him. At the Black belt awards ceremony in Carrigaline Court hotel Tommy was posthumously awarded his 5th degree Black belt, the award was collected on his behalf by Dougie, Emma, Crosshaven Instructor Gar Fleming and Black belt Rory Egan, to a standing ovation from the crowd, who represented Taekwondo clubs from all over Ireland, North and South.


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