Tributes pour in after the passing of Maurice Walsh, the Yank of Cork boxing

Tributes pour in after the passing of Maurice Walsh, the Yank of Cork boxing
Maurice Walsh at St Colman’s Boxing Club in Shanagarry, East Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

CORK boxing legend Maurice Walsh, affectionately known as 'the Yank', passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family.

Since his death last weekend, many in the sport have reflected and paid tribute to his outstanding work.

The President of the Cork Boxing Board Michael O'Brien led the tributes. 

"Maurice Walsh was a dignified man of honour and substance, he said.

"His contribution to boxing on Leeside is legendary, and I am delighted that we had the opportunity to honour him on two occasions. On behalf of the Board, I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife and family."

Dominic O'Rourke, President of the IABA, also extended his condolences to the Walsh family. 

"He was a gentleman and a great Irish coach who trained numerous champions," he said.

Picture: Doug Minihane.
Picture: Doug Minihane.

The former President of the Munster Council and Cork Board, Dan O'Connell, described Maurice Walsh as a man who he was proud to call his friend.

"His priority was always to other people. He was kind, caring and giving, and I was thrilled when he invited me to come back to refereeing three years ago."

Tim O'Sullivan and Bernie O'Connor of the Cork Ex Boxers Association extended their heartfelt sympathies to the Walsh family, and Conal Thomas from the Cork Boxing Fraternity observed that "we have lost one of nature's gentlemen."

World middleweight contender Gary O'Sullivan remarked that Maurice Walsh was a coach to many and a hero to most.

Maurice Walsh's policy at his club, the St Colman's BC, was predicated on four fundamental principles; plan, prepare, focus and persevere.

Signed gloves from Jake LaMotta who was nicknamed Raging Bull given to coach Maurice Walsh. Picture: Dan Linehan
Signed gloves from Jake LaMotta who was nicknamed Raging Bull given to coach Maurice Walsh. Picture: Dan Linehan

He believed that if a boxer applied himself he would reap the awards. The St Colman's club was founded in 1984 by Father Bertie Troy who quickly involved Maurice in the sport.

The Yank was a native of Providence USA and a fitness fanatic who played American football as a pro with the Steamrollers, an affiliate of the famed New York Giants.

Billy Walsh, Maurice's son, became the club's first Irish champion in 1985 and went one to win another seven national crowns.

His brothers Kevin and Pa quickly followed. Kevin bagged nine Irish titles while Pa secured five and a European silver medal.

Collectively, the Walsh brothers, under the guidance of their dad, won 22 Irish belts, while Maurice had the distinction of coaching the last Cork male boxer, Eanna Falvey, to Irish Elite honours in 2002.

Cork boxing: Pa Walsh and his father Maurice Walsh.
Cork boxing: Pa Walsh and his father Maurice Walsh.

Maurice told many tales of his naivety when he first became involved with boxing. However, he quickly learned the ropes.

Among his many friends during his career were the late Albie Murphy and Cuban coach Nicholas Cruz who helped steer Michael Carruth to Olympic gold at Barcelona 1992.

Maurice Walsh has left an outstanding legacy to Cork and Irish boxing.

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