Cork Boxing Wall to remain a feature in new-look Bishop Lucey Park

Cork Boxing Wall to remain a feature in new-look Bishop Lucey Park

An overview of one of the many successful events held at the famed Boxing Wall in Bishop Lucey Park over the last number of years. Picture: Doug Minihane

THE revamp of Bishop Lucey Park will commence early in the New Year.

This is a €1.5m renovation to a park which was opened in the city centre in 1985 and was named after the former Bishop of Cork Dr Cornelius Lucey.

The new format, as part of an ultra-modern design, will see the formulation of a plaza which will create an environment of relaxation where family and friends can stroll oblivious to the hustle and bustle of city centre life.

The good news for boxing is that the now-iconic Boxing Wall will be catered for and enhanced by architects in the new layout.

This was confirmed in writing by City Councillor Director of Services David Joyce. Following representations from Tony Fitzgerald on behalf of the boxing community, the City Council said that the Boxing Wall was of paramount importance.

The President of the Cork Boxing Board, Michael O'Brien, welcomed the news officially and thanked Cllr. Fitzgerald for his work on behalf of the entire boxing community.

O'Brien also thanked former Lord Mayor and Senator Denis Cregan who initially alerted the Cork Ex Boxers Association to the impending changes and encouraged them to act quickly to protect the continuation of the Boxing Wall.

Bishop Lucy Park is part of the official Cork City tourist trail and visitors have admired the Boxing Wall over many years. The structure bears the names of many of Leeside's ring legends.

The President of the Cork Ex Boxers Association, Tim O'Sullivan, said at the last event in the park: "The wall is a source of great pride for our sport since the first plaque was erected in 1987 honouring our only World champion Jack McAuliffe. We had extended this wall over the years to record our magnificent history."

In recent years the park has seen many more plaques erected, including all of Cork's Olympic boxers since 1924 in addition to many household names, including Pakey O'Mahony, Jack Doyle, Tommy Hyde, Paddy Martin, Mick Leahy as well as honouring Cork's young guns.

This plaque records the ten Cork young athletes who brought World and European medals back to Leeside in recent seasons.

The Boxing Wall also remembers the great Sunnyside coach Albie Murphy and acknowledges all those that made the Glen BC the oldest club in the country.

Plans are also imminent to erect a place to Maurice Walsh who died last May. This was due to be unveiled at the Park on Saturday next by former Munster Council and Cork Board President Dan O'Connell who was also the sponsor of this event and who has been a lifelong friend of the late St Colman's BC legend.

Other boxing greats who have been earmarked for inclusion on the wall going forward include Cork Boxer of the Century Kieran Joyce, Olympic champion Michael Carruth and former World super-middleweight champion Steve Collins.

The plaque to Collins is being erected as part of Cork boxing history to acknowledge the Dubliner winning his two bouts against Chris Eubank in Cork a quarter of a century ago.

The eyes of the boxing world were on Cork in that period in 1995, and it was deemed appropriate that Collins be conferred with Honorary Memberships of the Cork Ex Boxers Association and publicly acknowledged for his achievements in the southern capital by Conal Thomas of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association.

Bishop Lucey Park has also provided a magnificent setting for many boxing events in recent years. In May of each year, Cork's All-Ireland champions are paraded through the park proudly led by the Lord Mayor with bunting and flags amid a musical backdrop provided by the Butter Exchange Band.

This parade is also a big family occasion where the proud parents stand in admiration of the young athletes who stand for the National Anthem before being presented with their Jack McAuliffe gold medals which are sponsored each year by the Cork Ex Boxers.

The magic and memories of Bishop Lucey Park has been truly magnificent and has provided Cork boxing with an opportunity to showcase the sport to all in the City Centre.

Meanwhile, all Cork Boxing Associations have joined to extend best wishes for a speedy recovery to Tim O'Sullivan who was in hospital recently.

Best wishes have been extended from all boxing folk include the Taoiseach Michael Martin. O'Sullivan is the oldest international in the country and is the only Cork man to be presented with the IABA Hall of Fame Award.

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