MANY of Leeside's boxing stalwarts and coaches were honoured for their outstanding contributions and promotion of the sport over many years at a Cork Boxing Breakfast at the Commons Inn last Saturday.
A full house gathered to pay tribute to those who have left an idyllic mark on boxing while others were lauded for their continuous involvement in the noble art.
Cork boxing is currently in a very positive place, with success being enjoyed by all clubs at domestic, provincial, national and international level throughout the city and county.
However, down through the decades, the sport struggled and success was in short supply. At last week's event, the President of the Cork Board, Michael O'Brien, outlined much of the history from that era while acknowledging the roles of two of the recipients of accolades at the Commons Inn to improve that situation in the 1980s.
The parts played by each of the awardees was then recalled, and their benefactions applauded publicly and accordingly.
Tribute was paid to John O'Neill (South Parish BC), Albert McGroarty (Cove BC), Edwin Healy (Setanta BC), Anthony Connolly (Glen BC), Sean Sheehan (Dunmanway BC) and Derry McCarthy, formerly of the Douglas BC, the Ballinlough BC who currently works with the Cork Ex Boxers Association.
Before the presentations, the guest speaker was Cork's champion of the homeless, Caitriona Twomey. In a wide-ranging address, she hailed clubs who were performing what she described as outstanding work.
"They concentrate the minds of many young athletes by guiding them and encouraging them in a very healthy and positive fashion during difficult times in today's society," she said.
Caitriona went on to explain what Cork Penny Dinners were doing to tackle the desperate and tragic conditions which prevailed on the streets of Cork. She referred to those with no hope, those with mental health issues and those that felt that society had abandoned them.
She added that in her opinion politicians were utterly out of touch with reality and encouraged all present to tackle their local politicians to encourage them to address the situation.
Twomey's father was the late Tom Lynch who was a coach at the Brian Dillon's BC for many years. Following her passionate oratory, she received a rousing round of applause from all present.
Conal Thomas, President of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association and sponsor, then spoke at length of the role boxing had played in his life.
Before the individual presentations, the Flor McCarthy Cup was presented to the Togher BC to acknowledge their status as the top club at the recent County Championships.
Derry McCarthy made the presentation to Louise Forde of the Togher BC. Presentations to each of the recipients were then made by Thomas.
Each of the awardees was accompanied by members of their families, clubs and friends. The Boxing Breakfast was a poignant occasion for John O'Neill and Albert McGroarty who were joined on the podium by the popular Edwin Healy.
The contributions of the men who have now retired were acclaimed as was the participation of those still actively involved to this day; Anthony Connolly, Sean Sheehan and Derry McCarthy.
Amidst the tremendous atmosphere which prevailed, guests were treated to renditions of song and story provided by Derry McCarthy and that great character of Cork GAA folklore, Cyril "The Bird" Kavanagh.
The President of the Cork Board Michael O'Brien called on all to reflect on the men who were honoured. All received a prolonged standing ovation to bring the curtain down on a special occasion.