Empty Link

Powered By People - Emmet Brennan

Community 4 min read

02 Jul 2021


After years of determination, commitment and sacrifice, 30 year old Dubliner Emmet Brennan is finally on the road of his dreams. This road leads to Tokyo, where Emmet, and team Ireland will travel with one goal on their mind - to come home with an Olympic medal.

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Emmet’s career started at the age of 10 when his father took him to the local boxing club. As well as reaping all the physical benefits of playing sport, Emmet’s involvement in boxing, and other sports, opened the door to his growth in confidence. Now as he prepares for the biggest bouts of his life, we sat down with Emmet to find out how he got to where he is today and shows find out how he’s been Powered By People.  
We started by chatting about where it all began for Emmet, and he delved into how boxing helped him gain more confidence as a child. “I began boxing aged 10, as a kid I lacked confidence and was very reserved. I played every sport I possibly could as a kid, this is where I was able to express myself the most. In school I played everything from soccer to judo to basketball. When I was 10 I was playing a football match and got into a bit of a scuffle and I could not defend myself, after this my father brought me down to the local boxing club which I soon ended up becoming addicted to, I loved how it was different to team sports but at the same time we all trained together as a club with other kids my own age. My confidence grew massively from boxing as a kid. It taught me some great life lessons about discipline and independence that still stay with me to this day. I would recommend every kid to be involved in some kind of similar environment as it helped me grow massively as a person”

Almost 20 years later, Emmet is now on the road to Tokyo, but was that always part of the plan?
“As a kid the two main dreams I had in sporting life we’re to be National Elite Boxing Champion of Ireland and to be an Olympian. In my early to mid-twenties I had become distracted from boxing, settling into a job I didn't like and getting distracted by alcohol on the weekend. As I got to my mid-twenties I became sick of this lifestyle and quit my job as a pipefitter and started training full time to commit to becoming an Olympian. In 2017 and 2019 I won the National Elite titles putting me in prime position to qualify for the Olympics. From 2016 onwards I backed myself unconditionally to become an Olympian. It was always a dream from when I started boxing but I only started acting on that dream in 2016”.

Making his dreams a reality, Emmet tells us how sacrifice and determination got him where he is today. “I sacrificed a lot. When my friends were settling down, having families and saving for a mortgage, I stayed living at home. I quit my job as a pipefitter and went training full time. This was a huge commitment for someone in their mid to late twenties. Financially this journey has cost me a lot of money. Socially I don't get to live the same lifestyle as my friends. I train 2 to 3 times a day Monday to Friday so weekends are for rest and recovery. I’ve missed social events, holidays and family gatherings but this is all part of the process of becoming an Olympian. All of my spare money goes into training and living the correct lifestyle. I had a lot to lose by doing this but I didn't want to look back in twenty years with regret”.

And while boxing seems like an individual sport, the community in the background are the ones who make it all happen. Emmet nods to his coaches, family and everyone who helped him along the way. Without his community, he may not be on the road to fulfil his dreams. 

“The people I have around me are the reason I have qualified for the Olympics, they are the reason I train so hard and are the reason I am able to commit to this lifestyle. I am 30 years old and still living in my parents’ house so this helps me out massively financially and makes it that bit easier. My family has always backed me and always pushed me to go after my dreams. My club coaches put endless hours into my training, they train me 4 to 5 days per week taking some time off work to do so and these are all volunteers doing it for free, I can never repay the faith and time they have put into me. My friends back me 100% and motivate me to be the best version of myself. I don’t have a huge amount of people around me but each and every one of them play a positive role in helping me be a better person and better athlete”.

Playing a small part in that community was Emmet’s local credit union, who were there for him when he needed them the most. “In late 2019 coming up to the elite championships I took a loan out of the credit union so that I could take a few months off work and solely concentrate on boxing, the elite championships where coming up and the winner of these would go to the Olympic qualifying tournament, so I knew I had to be in the best shape possible and to win them it wasn't possible to train and work full time. The loan gave me the freedom to train full time and get in the best condition I could. I won the elite championships making me the number one fighter at my weight in the country. In turn, I was sent to the Olympic qualifying tournament and qualified for Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Without this loan, the likelihood is that I would have not won the national championships and the dream of being an Olympian would have been over for myself”.

With the hard graft now completed, it’s down to Emmet and his team to bring home the medal from Tokyo. Looking on, many young sports stars will be cheering on team Ireland, and Emmet has some very wise words of advice for anyone looking to become a successful sports star.

“Go after it, don’t half do it, go after it with everything you have, sacrifice what you have to get there. Have zero regrets, anyone can live an average life without ever challenging themselves, be courageous enough to go after what you really want".

And make a plan, it's great to have a dream and it's great to go after it but have smaller goals along the way that will help you get to the dream. Follow the process that will help get you to where you want to be. The dream is not a destination but a journey. By this I mean all your problems won’t be dealt with once you complete your goal, life goes on afterwards, don't depend your happiness on one goal”.

Determination is a key part of Emmet’s make up. Everything he does, is done to the best of his ability, no corners cut! “My goal was always to be an Olympian but the second I qualified this soon changed to being an Olympic medallist. I would love to come home with a medal around my neck and repay the faith that people have put into me. I am a very honest person and have an exciting fighting style that people love to see, so I would love the whole nation to get behind me. When I get to Tokyo I am going to give everything I have to win every fight I am in, it is going to be a very exciting journey”.

Emmet’s Olympic journey begins on Saturday 24th of July when he hopes to make history! Emmet has put his heart and soul into this journey and we can’t wait to see where he finishes. As with everything there comes a cost, if there are any interested parties who would like to support Emmet on his Olympic journey, contact Emmet directly on emmetbrennan@live.com. Emmet Brennan, remember the name.

Emmet's story has been told as part of our #PoweredByPeople series – a campaign which celebrates tales of community support – and highlights exactly what the credit union stands for: people helping people. If you’d like to get involved and tell your story, we’d be more than happy to hear it. Simply get in touch by contacting Jane at jdaly@creditunion.ie.