MICK DEVANE, a true gentleman of Cork boxing celebrates his 90th birthday this week on Thursday in fact.
The entire Cork boxing family and followers from further afield join together in congratulating him and extending their best wishes to a great old warrior from the Riverstown boxing club.
The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Joe Kavanagh has led the birthday greetings to Mick on his special day.
In a letter, Cork's 1st citizen conveyed his congratulations on behalf of the people of Cork and thanked Mick for his outstanding work as a dedicated sporting volunteer who has given close to 40 years' service to boxing in both his own club and the Cork County Boxing Board.
The Lord Mayor's letter's focal point identified his great qualities of loyalty, honour, and respect in dealing with people down through the years.
The President of the Cork Board, Mick O'Brien, said all in Cork boxing should be proud of Mick's outstanding contribution in promoting and developing the sport.
"Mick has been an outstanding operator and a great ambassador over many years, he said.
"His mild-mannered approach coupled with years of experience with dealing with people in all walks of life have served him well.
"From time to time, these fine qualities came refreshingly to the fore, very often making him the voice of reason during many contentious debates at County Board level. His timely interventions and important nuggets of wisdom brought resolution to many situations."
Mick Devane was a founder member of the Riverstown BC in 1984. Today this is a flourishing club with in excess of 70 boxers registered.
The unit boasts a strong committee and club structure, and they operate out of a magnificent clubhouse since August 2015, However, before this, the Riverstown BC displayed extraordinary tenacity and determination to survive as a club.
Over many years they operated from post to pillar and had the inconvenience of operating out of different venues, such as the Glanmire Area Community Association Hall and Riverstown National school.
Despite this, club Secretary Brian Barry has always pointed out that the club would always be grateful for these makeshift facilities.
Since the foundation of the unit, Mick Devane has worked closely with fellow founder member and coach Ted Barry.
Both men have built up a lifelong friendship based on mutual respect. They have enjoyed many great days but also experienced dark days.
There were times when they had nowhere to train their athletes for Championships and improvised through sheer grit and determination with the boxers using a ring in Ted Barry's back garden.
There were other times then the club was reduced to having just one boxer and Ted and Mick wondered if the time had come to close the door.
However, to their eternal credit, the towel wasn't thrown in, and the club emerged from trying days to a dawn of glory.
Many great times were to follow when the club produced many Munster, County and Irish champions, culminating in outstanding international success with Eamer Coughlan winning a World junior silver medal in 2015 and Callum Walsh claiming a European junior gold medal in 2017.
Outside the ring, Ted Barry represented the club as President of the Cork Board for many years. Today, he holds the post of Vice President of the Munster Council as well as a Director of the IABA.
Meanwhile, his brother Brian is Secretary to the Munster Council. Mick Devane was the first Chairman of the Riverstown BC and continues his link with the club to the present day.
He also gave trojan service to the Cork Board as Treasurer and for many years as timekeeper.
He has been honoured by the IABA, the Munster Council, the County Board, the Cork Ex Boxers Association and Cork Indoor Sports.
Goodwill wises on his birthday have been extended by IABA President Dom O'Rourke, Munster Council President Gery O'Mahony, Cork Ex Boxers Association President Paddy McSweeney, Mr Cork Boxing Tommy Kelleher and long-time secretary of the County Board who has served with him, John Wiseman.
Mick has always been efficient and reliable in discharging his duties and has been an invaluable asset to club and county.
MIck Devane has always been a man of strong faith. Four years ago, he attended the inauguration of a young priest in Cork. Today, on his birthday, Father Evin O'Brien will celebrate Mass to thank God for Mick's long life and to bestow on him continued good health.