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Thursday, 8th November 2018

New Judo Club opening in Drogheda

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There hasn’t been a Judo Club in Drogheda for 20 years but that is about to change  tomorrow, Friday 9th November when The Drogheda Academy of Judo  opens its doors for the first time at the Drogheda Town Football Club in Marian Park with classes for both children and adults.

The Drogheda Academy of Judo  is the brainchild of two Drogheda residents who have decided to get the popular sport up and running on the Boyneside again!

Originally from France, David Dupre, grew up following the sport and regretted not having the opportunity to ever learn it. Having moved to Drogheda, he realised that if he wanted his two children to learn Judo, he would have to set up a club himself!

He decided to take on the challenge and having grown up in a family where his dad ran the local football club for thirty years, he had a good idea of what it might involve.

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Meanwhile Leo Daniel Ryan had also moved to Drogheda and was juggling running his busy practice as a trainer and health coach in Dublin with taking care of his young family of three with his wife in Drogheda. 

Leo had started learning Judo nineteen years ago in Portmarnock Judo Club. He was a small and light underage Gaelic football player and wanting to play Senior Club Football he sought out Judo as a means of building his strength, confidence and skill to compete with guys taller and heavier than him – Judo provided that platform. 

“But then I fell in love with the sport for all that it is. I love the nature of the Judo community – kind people yet fierce in training and competition.  I love the skill of the sport and the feeling after a good tough session. 

“Selfishly, having a club close to home will help me to train. It will also give me the opportunity to teach my children the skills of judo and it will provide a platform for me to coach the sport I love combined with my professional experience.” 

Following an introduction from Alan Martin of Judo Ireland, the two decided to set about creating a club in Drogheda. “It has been a year of planning and we are really excited to get going now.”


Judo, an Olympic sport since 1964, is an inclusive sport suitable for all ages and genders. Judo (meaning the gentle way) teaches people how to defend themselves but involves no strikes or kicks. It is not to be confused with popular MMA matches on television or boxing in that it is not about learning how to attack or fight.

Rather it has a core foundation that builds, step by step based on following Judo patterns. Its structured methodology and its principals of respect for oneself and for others has given it a reputation as a builder of self-discipline, responsibility and control. It has been shown to improve the ability to focus for longer and be calmer. Indeed, UNESCO have recognised Judo as the most complete sport for children.

It’s far reaching benefits include anti-bullying, confidence, self-esteem building, fitness, balance and intellectual stimulation.

“We are looking forward to meeting everyone on Friday. It will be a free session so please feel free to come along and give it a go” say Leo and David.

For more information see their Facebook page

Classes cost €7 for under 12s and €10 for adults.

Sensei Leo

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