Huge interest in documentary on the history of Cork boxing

Show next year will feature a host of Leeside Legends
Huge interest in documentary on the history of Cork boxing

Patrick Lawlor of Brian Dillon's BC, who claimed an Irish U18 title in 2020 but was denied his chance to take part in the European Youth Championships due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Picture: Doug Minihane

AFTER last week's boxing column there was a phenomenal response to the news that a documentary will be premiered next year to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Cork Ex Boxers Association.

"The level of interest in this project has surpassed all expectations," said Mick O'Brien, President of the Cork Board.

"During the past week, the amount of phone calls from people providing old photographs and nuggets of information has been remarkable."

O'Brien added that his greatest regret regarding the production was that the late Tim O'Sullivan would not be part of the celebrations.

Tim worked for over 60 years as a physiotherapist in Maylor Street. In addition to many photographs, writes-ups and programmes, he also had what was affectionately known as Cork's Book of Kells in his office.

This was a super-sized ledger with over 500 pages brimming with priceless Cork boxing information over the last 100 years.

Following Tim's passing, many boxing heads thought immediately about this invaluable gem, but who would ask the O'Sullivan family for it?

However, last week's boxing column solved the problem as following the news of the upcoming documentary, Paddy McSweeney, the new President of the Cork Ex Boxers, received a phone call from Belgium.

The call came from Tim's son Adrian who works and lives in Belgium, and he confirmed that he had the book in his possession and would make it available on request.

Meanwhile, Donie Carroll, the former Sunnyside boxer currently residing in sunny Florida, got in touch to provide a photograph and background to Jack McAuliffe's last home in Forest Hill in Queens, New York where he died in 1937.

The former Lord Mayor of Cork, Bernard Allen, who was Leeside's 1st citizen in 1988 and had the distinction of unveiling a plaque to McAuliffe, said he was delighted to see the film being made. Bernard went on to become the Minister for Sport and was very supportive of many Cork boxing clubs.

He said he was a follower of boxing for many years and often recalled, as a young boy, being in City Hall the night Albie Murphy fought and lost narrowly to Dublin's Olympic silver medallist Fred Tiedt in 1957.

The ex-Lord Mayor is also a member of Sport Ireland and will be interviewed for the film as part of the Cork boxing narrative.

Five years ago, at a Cork Boxing Breakfast, the Taoiseach Michael Martin was being conferred with a Cork Ex Boxers Association's honorary membership.

During that function, Derry McCarthy - who has been inducted into the Cork Ex Boxers Hall of Fame - gave a rousing rendition of the boxing anthem Stand Up and Fight Until You Hear the Bell.

The keynote speaker that morning was the illustrious Cork Ladies football manager, the late and great Eamon Ryan who died recently.

Eamonn Ryan with Michael O'Brien, Gerry O'Mahony, Pat Ryan, and, partially obscured, current Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: Doug Minihane
Eamonn Ryan with Michael O'Brien, Gerry O'Mahony, Pat Ryan, and, partially obscured, current Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: Doug Minihane

Eamon was an outstanding motivator and his riveting speech that morning was captured on video. He spoke of his admiration for boxers and the sport.

During his address, he also recalled his long friendship with Paddy 'The Champ' Martin and said he admired current light-middleweight Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan.

Concerning his phenomenal 10 All-Ireland wins with Cork, he said that listening to Derry reminded him of a song written by Johnny Duhan. The songDon't Give Up Until It's Over was the inspiration for many wins in Croke Park.

In 2004 and 2005, Niall McCarthy, the swashbuckling centre-forward from the Carrigtwohill club, won two All-Ireland medals senior hurling medals with Cork.

He later joined the St Colman's BC and was coached by the late Maurice Walsh and his son Pa. He resumed his studies at UCC and entered the University Championship and won an Irish title at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Following this win, McCarthy had the distinction of parading through Bishop Lucey Park behind the Lord Mayor. He was amongst a team of Cork's All-Ireland boxing champions from that year.

McCarthy later proudly declared: "When I won All-Ireland hurling medals, I walked behind the Artane Boys Band. I never thought I would parade behind the Butter Exchange Band in Cork having won an All-Ireland boxing medal."

This, he added, was a fairy-tale ending to his sporting career.

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