Cork Boxing Breakfasts have honoured the good and the great of the sport

Cork Boxing Breakfasts have honoured the good and the great of the sport

Michael O'Brien, President of the Cork County Boxing Board, with special guests Bernie Harold and Anna Moore and the eight ladies who received Special Appreciation Awards at the function in Clancys in their honour. (L-R) Sheila Cotter, Louise Forde, Aine McLoughlin, Claudia O'Driscoll, Mary Corbett, Nicola Kelly, Clodagh Mackey Pelan and Kristy Smith. Picture: Doug Minihane.

THIS week we will reflect on the enduring success of the Cork Boxing Breakfasts.

These were first launched on 12 August 2012. 

This social event was initiated as a once-off to celebrate Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan's victory over Matthew Hall at Upton Park in London to win the WBO International title.

This fight was billed as the main undercard bout to the world heavyweight fight where David Haye knocked out Dereck Chisora in the English capital.

Over 40,000 fans attended the venue, and many millions more, including thousands in Ireland, watched the fights live on Sky Sports.

The venue for the first breakfast was the Silver Quay restaurant. 

Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan with his sponsor Conal Thomas before his departure to the United States
Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan with his sponsor Conal Thomas before his departure to the United States

With 50 guests attending, it was an outstanding success and laid the foundation for the continuation of the breakfasts, which later blossomed into some of the great social events on the Irish boxing calendar.

The basic premise was to honour the achievements of many outstanding boxers over the previous 200 years. 

To date, there has been 54 Cork boxing breakfasts, with the most recent having taking place at the Commons Inn on the 20 February 2020.

Covid 19 has seen the suspension of the breakfasts over the last 12 months.

The idea was simple, select an awardee to acknowledge his/her outstanding contribution to the sport, invite their family and friends, the Lord Mayor of Cork, boxing officials and two good singers.

Cork County Board Boxing president Michael O'Brien, Bernie O'Connor, Dave Dunlea, who was honoured at a Cork boxing Breakfast. Also in the picture are Paddy McSweeney and Billy Deasy.
Cork County Board Boxing president Michael O'Brien, Bernie O'Connor, Dave Dunlea, who was honoured at a Cork boxing Breakfast. Also in the picture are Paddy McSweeney and Billy Deasy.

Immediately you have created a superb morning with a great atmosphere where around 70 people enjoyed two hours of boxing nostalgia which ignited a fire amongst the Cork boxing community who were eager to celebrate the successes of Leeside's sons and daughters.

The second boxing breakfast marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Cork Ex Boxers Association. 

Presentations were made to Tim O'Sullivan, founding member, and Willie O'Leary the then President.

A further 52 more boxing breakfasts followed with many overdo boxing people acknowledged for their contribution to the sport.

Amongst these included Cork's living Olympians, Paddy Kenny, Kieran Joyce, Paul Buttimer and Michael Roche. 

Other Olympian from outside Cork were also honoured, including Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth, Mick Dowling and ten-time Elite champion Jim O'Sullivan from Wexford.

Other recipients were Don Murray the only man to win Irish Junior and Senior heavyweight titles and Gordon Joyce the youngest man to ever claim an Irish Elite belt.

The women in Cork boxing were also recognised for their wonderful work. 

These ladies come from various clubs from throughout the city and county.

They were presented with silver trays at a special breakfast and are named on the main photograph on this page.

Breakfast recognition also went to the prominent referees' John Casey, Bob O'Driscoll and Danny Fitzpatrick. 

On another occasion, the first Cork boxing team to meet Dublin in 1961 were named on commemoration plates.

This was a date cherished by Tony Arnold, Jim McDonnell, Dean Monahan, Finbarr O'Leary. Derry McCarthy, Donie Crean, Gerry Heaphy, Paddy Gough, Joe O'Reilly and Timmy Duncliffe.

Many boxers from yesteryear also had their day in the sun, including Mick O'Donovan, John Kelleher, Harry Butt, Noel Kelleher, Bobby Fiddis, Dean Carey, Seane Barrett, Billy Deasy, Lous Kenneally, Davy Dunlea and Donie Carroll.

Administrators honoured included Dan O Connell, Victor Aston, represented by his family, Billy O'Donovan, Frank O'Sullivan from the Birmingham ABC, JJ Murphy, Mick Devane, Claudia O'Driscoll, Anthony Connolly, Denis Desmond, John Wiseman, Gerry O'Mahony, Francis Keeling, John Crowley, Martin Coughlan, Dom O'Rourke, Stephen Connolly and Pat Ryan.

Celebrities honour included Caitríona Twomey, Bernard Allen, Trevor Walsh, Eamon Ryan, Brendan Mooney, John McHale, and Conal Thomas.

The club coaches acknowledged for their outstanding service were Maurice Walsh, Tommy Kelleher, Dane Lane, Peter Higgins, Sean Sheehan, Albery McGroarty, John O'Neill. 

Paddy McSweeney, Tom Murray, Jim McConville, Mickey Hackett, Tomy Flanagan and Mickey Power.

Female boxes honoured for their All-Ireland success included Christina Desmond, Connie O'Keeffe, Shelley Thomas, Leane Murphy, Saoirse Morrissey and Katie O'Keeffe.

Award recipients at the boxing breakfast in the Commons Inn were: Back row. L to R Conal Thomas, Anthony Connolly, Sean Sheehan, Derry McCarthy, Timmy O'Sullivan Front row. L to R Edwin Healy, Albert Mc Groarty, CCBB President Michael O'Brien, John O'Neill
Award recipients at the boxing breakfast in the Commons Inn were: Back row. L to R Conal Thomas, Anthony Connolly, Sean Sheehan, Derry McCarthy, Timmy O'Sullivan Front row. L to R Edwin Healy, Albert Mc Groarty, CCBB President Michael O'Brien, John O'Neill

A special boxing breakfast was also organised to acknowledge Michael Faulkner's European gold medal. 

Others to receive awards were Jim Ryan and Anne Corbett who ran the shop at the Cork Boxing Centre for five years.

Michael O'Brien, President of the Cork Board, expressed thanks to the main sponsors of the Cork Boxing Breakfasts, Conal Thomas and Tom Murray, without whose support they could not happen.

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