City Hall to host international boxing tournaments in 2020

City Hall to host international boxing tournaments in 2020
Conor O'Donoghue of Midleton (red) and Olan Twohig of Rylane BC in action during the 2019 Boys County Championships at the Cork Boxing Centre in Churchfield. Picture: Doug Minihane

A MAJOR boxing international will be hosted at City Hall this year as part of the Cork 2020 commemorations.

During a recent meeting, the President of the IABA, Dom O'Rourke, said he'd assemble a top class Irish team to take on England at the venue at a date which will be confirmed shortly. 

O'Rourke met with Mick O'Brien, Cork County Board President, and Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners.

The IABA chief stated that he was aware of the historical link for the city, citing the burning of Cork in 1920 and the murder of Tomás Mac Curtain who was then Lord Mayor as never forgotten outrages. 

The Parnell Boxing Club in Copley Street was also burned to the ground that year.

O'Rourke is well aware of the long history established between the new City Hall, constructed in 1936, and Cork boxing. 

The Kildare-native commended the excellent relations that have developed between City authorities and the boxing fraternity during that time and continue to this day.

"As part of that link Cork boxing has a role to play in the commemoration during an iconic year," he said, while Mick O'Brien stated that he had talks with City Hall and that they intend to do all in their jurisdiction to encourage and assist the international.

Caitriona Twomey stated that she was delighted that her organisation would be the recipient of the gate receipts from the Ireland versus England match.

O'Rourke added that he's impressed with the charity work of Cork Penny Dinners on behalf of the homeless on Leeside and that he had known Twoomey's father for many years when her dad was involved in the running of the Brian Dillon's BC.

The Penny Dinners charity has fought poverty and homelessness for over 100 years and existed during the burning of Cork. O'Rourke stressed that this historical link was of paramount importance.

Cork-born Frank O'Sullivan, a legend with the Birmingham City ABC, is the link man for the international and will provide an England team.

The Irish squad will include Cork and Munster boxers.

All dates and details will be confirmed at the end of this month. 

Meanwhile, the Glen BC will hold a special meeting next week to draw up plans to mark their 2020 ceremony.

As Ireland's oldest boxing club, the enduring unit is steeped in the history of the city, and 1920 was a particularly tragic occasion for the elder statesman of Irish boxing as they lost their President Tomás Mac Curtain who was also Lord Mayor.

Cork's 1st citizen was murdered in his home in front of his family on March 20, 1920. Following last week's announcement, it was confirmed that the current Lord Mayor, Cllr. John Sheehan would officiate at the unveiling of a worded and framed photography of Tomás Mac Curtin.

The occasion will include an invitation to members of the Mac Curtin family. 

The ex Lord Mayor, Cllr. Des Cahill said he was delighted to see the Glen BC mark this special Centenary.

He also provided a unique picture of Tomás Mac Curtin to assist with preparations. 

Cahill said: "One of my greatest memories from my year as Lord Mayor was leading a parade of Cork boxers through Bishop Lucey Park. 

"I was assisted by Tim O'Sullivan of the Cork Ex Boxers, and the Butter Exchange Band led the way.

"Cork boxing has, and continues to be, an outstanding ambassador for all sport on Leeside in recent years."

Another former Lord Mayor, Toddy O'Sullivan, who was both a TD and Junior Minister, said he was proud to be associated with the Glen BC event.

Toddy has always been a great supporter of Cork boxing and had the honour of being Lord Mayor around 1980.

It's believed that the Glen BC will invite all former Lord Mayors.

"With the plans which are currently in place it promises to be an occasion which will be both spectacular and historic," said Mick O'Brien.

Councillor Sheehan will unveil the picture of Tomas MacCurtin. Poignantly, he is a Blackpool man and will be doing the honours 100 years after the death of the last Lord Mayor from Blackpool.

Elsewhere, the Cork County Board and Cork Ex Boxers have extended their condolences to the Casey family following the recent death of Stephen Casey who boxed with the Sunnyside BC.

The Casey family have played a significant role in Cork boxing, and Barry and the late Pat were instrumental in setting up the Sunnyside club.

The Board and the Cork Ex Boxers attended the funeral of the late Stephen Casey where a huge turnout paid tribute to a renowned Cork boxing family.

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