Riverstown stalwart Mick Devane on a lifetime of service to Cork boxing

Riverstown stalwart Mick Devane on a lifetime of service to Cork boxing
Long-serving Cork County Boxing Board member and timekeeper Mick Devane of Riverstown BC, with Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth. Picture: Doug Minihane

MICK DEVANE celebrates his 89th birthday next Wednesday.

The Riverstown BC man has made an outstanding contribution to the development of boxing within his club and on behalf of the Cork County Boxing Board (CCBB).

Three years ago, Devane retired as CCBB timekeeper as a well-known and respected official throughout the city and county.

He's also widely acknowledged as the voice of reason, a commodity occasionally known to be in short supply in the affairs of the squared circle.

His motto is simple; he believes that common sense should always prevail. He takes pride in never falling out with people because of disputes.

Following his retirement, he attended a dinner dance in 2017 to acclaim Cork's most successful season between the ropes.

That year the Rebel County secured a record 33 All-Ireland belts. A major night of celebration followed with the then Lord Mayor, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, at ringside.

Cork's first citizen and entourage were accompanied by the entire IABA Officer Board led by President Dom O'Rourke, CEO Fergal Carruth, the leader of Fianna Fail, Micheál Martin, and the special guest of honour, Olympic champion Michael Carruth.

On the evening, the President of the CCBB, Michael O'Brien, said many people had contributed to the success they'd enjoyed that year.

However, he added, it was the boxers who had ultimately delivered and that their coaches and clubs must also be acknowledged on such a night.

O'Brien said at the time that he believed that boxing must always operate as a family and that everybody's contribution is unique in its own right.

On the occasion, Devane was honoured for his 33-year service to his club and his roles with the CCBB where he acted as Treasurer for several years, and later as the official ringside timekeeper.

Devane's Riverstown BC was also honoured as 2017 was an excellent year for the outfit, culminating in Callum Walsh becoming the pride of Leeside after winning gold at the European Championships.

Walsh's triumph was hailed at the bash. The young man was unfortunately unable to attend the function that night but still received a standing ovation in his absence.

Devane was in situ, however, and once again acted as an ambassador for the club, publicly thanking and congratulating Walsh on his Continental success.

Amid a tremendous atmosphere, the moment arrived for Devane to step forward and receive a well-deserved accolade, earned over a long and distinguished vocation with Ireland's most successful Olympic sport.

"The night, as he remarked later, "was a moment of magic'. Michael Carruth, who ended Ireland's long wait for Olympic gold at Barcelona 1992, made the presentation.

The joy on Devane's face said it all, and he admitted he was overwhelmed by the occasion. In 1984, he became involved in the sport as one of the founding members of the Riverstown BC.

He was the unit's first President/Chairman and developed a life-long friendship with the outfit's head coach Ted Barry who served the CCBB as its President for eight years.

Ted Barry and Mick Devane presenting All-Ireland Cadet 48kg Champion Eamer Coughlan with the Club Boxer Of The Year in 2015. Picture: Doug Minihane
Ted Barry and Mick Devane presenting All-Ireland Cadet 48kg Champion Eamer Coughlan with the Club Boxer Of The Year in 2015. Picture: Doug Minihane

Devane also has a lifelong interest in the GAA and is a member of the Sarsfields hurling club. However, he still prides himself on captaining the junior football team from Little Island which won an East Cork Championships in 1953.

Devane worked on the railway as a regional inspector and over many years facilitated travel arrangements for Cork boxers heading to Dublin. He was also a trade unionist with the TSFA.

He's previously been honoured by the IABA and the Cork Indoor Sports Association and was Irish team manager when Ireland met Scotland in Cork in the early 1990s.

During his long career, Devane has earned numerous plaudits from many boxing pilgrims throughout the country.

Long-serving CCBB Secretary John Wiseman remarked that Devane played a leading role in developing the Board over many years and he was always reliable and very efficient in the administration of his duties.

"His contribution to Cork and Irish boxing must always be appreciated, and he is a worthy recipient of every award he has received, " said Wiseman.

Mick Devane has enjoyed many big nights in Irish boxing and has a treasure trove of memories, but as he reflects on all, there is no doubt about his most cherished memory.

That was three years ago when the Olympic champion Michael Carruth, the man who lowered the flag of the mighty Cubans at Barcelona 1992, shook his hand and said: "Well done Mick."

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