Double gold for world -class Walshes

November 10, 2009

By Brónagh Murphy

Silverbridge has the honour of having two new world champions after brother and sister, Ryan and Lisa Walsh, took first place in their respective competitions at the World Kickboxing Championships in the Spanish city of Huelva last weekend.

There was added celebration too for the family when youngest sibling, Ciaran, was awarded a bronze medal in his category.

Winning a combined total of seven medals, the talented teenagers have created history for the area as they are the first ever recipients of gold medals in the sport.

Lisa, who celebrated her 18th birthday on the day of the finals, scooped gold when she successfully overcame a tough encounter with her American opponent.  Participating in the minus 50 kilo light category, her opponent was forced to withdraw in the second round, unable to contest the sustained pressure.  Lisa is delighted at the win, saying that a gold medal was the only thing she wanted for her birthday.

“That was just the one thing I wanted – to be world champion on my birthday,” an elated Lisa exclaimed.

“I am over the moon, I just can’t believe it,” she added, saying that she ‘gave it her all’ but was surprised to have won the gold.

Currently studying for A-levels, Lisa says she intends to continue competing at this level in kickboxing in the hope that she can retain her world title.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan was also awarded a gold medal following his contest against a German opponent in the final of the minus 70 kilo light contact category.

A delighted Ryan described his win as ‘unbelievable’, saying he had no idea he had taken the title until his arm was raised in victory by the referee.

“I just leaped in the air in sheer delight,” he said, adding that his achievement didn’t really sink in until much later.

Ryan also achieved second place in the semi contact section, scooping a silver medal for his efforts.

Fourteen-year-old Ciaran fought his way through to the semi finals where, despite putting in a fantastic performance, he was unfortunate to be beaten by the eventual winner of the competition.

The trio were also chosen to take part in a team event where Ryan and Ciaran were awarded silver with the Northern Ireland Boys’ team while Lisa took bronze with the Irish Girls’ team.


Massive billboards of congratulations, bunting and a cavalcade of supporters met the Walsh family when they returned to their Carrigan’s Pass home on Tuesday evening.  Following impromptu celebrations with family and friends at home, they were then whisked off to a reception in Forkhill Community Centre. Here Lisa, Ryan and Ciaran were greeted by present and past club members and local councillors, who extended fervent congratulations to them on their fantastic achievement.

Lisa says all three of them are ‘overwhelmed’ by the reaction of the community and were delighted with the huge turnout of people to welcome them home.

On behalf of herself and her brothers, she thanked their coaches Desy, David and Paul and everyone who helped them on their way to winning the world championship.


The talented teenagers are members of the South Armagh Mugendo Kickboxing Club in Forkhill and their coach, Desy Murphy, is understandably delighted at their achievements.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and we are overwhelmed by it,” Desy said.

“The club has been going for over 25 years and we’ve had several bronze and silver wins in the World championships, but we’ve never had a gold until now.  This is the first time we’ve had a world champion and we got two in the one day!  I’m really, really proud of them,” he added.

Desy pointed out that the club boasts some very high achievers in the sport of kickboxing and has many members who compete internationally but unfortunately were unable to compete in this year’s world championships due to other commitments.

He paid tribute to everyone involved in this success for the club, paying particular appreciation to club coaches David Clarke and Paul Kelly, to those involved in fundraising and to everyone who gave generously to the fundraising events.

The club continues to meet and train several times every week in Forkhill Community Centre and new members are always welcome.

For more information contact club coach Desy Murphy on 02830 888151.