Gary KeeganAUGUST 31 - GARY KEEGAN (pictured) today revealed why he turned down the opportunity of overseeing the preparations of Britain's boxing team for London 2012.

Keegan was offered the role of director of coaching by the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) after guiding Ireland's team to three medals at the Beijing Olympics, a silver and two bronze, their best-ever performance.

But he turned the job, based at Sheffield, down.

He said: “I had the contract before me to sign.

"It is flattering when your work is recognised elsewhere.

“But I thought about it long and hard and I realised my heart would always be with Ireland in the lead up to the London Olympics.

"I also had to consider my family and, in the end, I did not sign the contract."

The ABAE role instead went to Kevin Hickey, returning to the sport after a 20-year absence, as reported on insidethegames last month.

Keegan, who is from Dublin, has now accepted a new role in Ireland as the director of performance management with the Institute of Sports.

He said: “It will be a challenge but I love a challenge.

"While there is a question mark over funding I know the institute has the full support of [chief executive] John Treacy and all of the Irish Sports Council.

"I would see it having a big role in the development of Irish sport into the future.

"That’s why I am staying."