Christy O'Keeffe is picked as Hall of Fame inductee by Cork Ex-Boxers Association

Christy O'Keeffe is picked as Hall of Fame inductee by Cork Ex-Boxers Association

Cork Ex-Boxers 2021 Hall Of Fame recipient Christy O'Keeffe (centre) pictured with CEBA president Paddy McSweeney and chairman JJ Murphy. Picture: Doug Minihane

SINCE its inception in 1977, with Mick Leahy as the first winner, the Cork Ex-Boxers Association (CEBA) Hall of Fame Award has always been a coveted accolade.

Many illustrious Cork boxers and administrators are recorded as worthy recipients.

Over the years, the selection of the annual winner took various formats. 

However, ten years ago, this was changed. 

In 2011 it was agreed at an AGM that the selection of the Hall of Fame Awardee would be exclusively the gift of the President of CEBA.

Following this new agreement Tim O'Sullivan, the late President and founder member, then made the annual decision up to his final selections prior to his death last October.

On that occasion, Tim made his call a double selection. 

This was not unique as a precedent as it also happened in 1989. 

That year the joint winners were Jack Corbett and John O Driscoll.

The following year it happened once again with another Corbett involved. 

This time it was Jim Corbett along with John Devereaux.

Tim was delighted to name Derry McCarthy and Christy O'Keeffe as his last selection to receive the flagship award.

This announcement was also historic because it was made at the last meeting that the late President and founder member presided over.

Subsequently, a function was organised to make the presentations. 

However, only one individual who received a Hall Of Fame Award on this occasion, Derry McCarthy attended, as Christy O'Keeffe, could not attend due to a prior engagement.

The Covid-19 lockdown then disrupted any further opportunities to make the formal presentation to Christy. 

However, his trophy was presented to him privately by the Chairman of CEBC JJ Murphy at a recent outdoor gathering of CEBA members, where he was formally congratulated, as the main picture on this page shows.

Christy has held the post of treasurer and secretary at different intervals. 

He has also been active as a committee member on many of the events organised by CEBA.

Christy believes that Bishop Lucey Park is an outstanding historical asset to the Cork boxing community, and he has attended the unveiling of every plaque in the park, which honours Cork's boxers, clubs and coaches and includes the Olympic roll of honour going back to 1924.

Christy started out as a member of the old Togher boxing club thirty years ago. 

However, his primary interest in the sport came through his late father, Dan O'Keeffe, a well-respected Munster senior champion during the 1950s.

While his father was a southside man from Togher, his friendship with the late Eamer Coughlan Senior influenced Dan to box with the Glen BC.

Amongst Christy's father's boxing colleagues from that era were Billy Deasy, Mick Leahy, Jim Corbett, Tony Myres and Paddy "The Champ" Martin.

Today, within the Cork Ex Boxers Association, the friendships made by Christy's father continues as Eamer Coughlan's son Martin is the long-time Secretary of CEBA while Billy Deasy is the association's Vice President.

Prior to Michael Roche's departure for the Sydney 2000 Olympics as Ireland only boxing representative, Christy O'Keeffe was instrumental as the main fundraiser to assist with the many financial costs incurred by an amateur boxer preparing for the greatest show on earth.

Recently Christy reflected in that time and said that he was happy to assist Roche's campaign having followed his career and seen him win five National Elite titles.

The new President of the Cork Ex Boxers, Paddy McSweeney, said he was happy to see Christy inducted into the CEB Hall of Fame.

"Cork has a very proud history in amateur boxing, and many of Leeside's sons are listed as previous recipients. 

"The work done by CEBA has stood the test of time.

 "However in a very progressive way it has changed its format over the last ten years, becoming today a very proactive part of the promotion of boxing in Cork," he said.

Paddy McSweeney added that Christy had played a significant part in this development. 

This was now fully acknowledged through his selection as a CEBA Hall of Fame winner.

The President of the County Board, Michael O'Brien, warmly congratulated Christy O'Keeffe and said his late father would be very proud of his son and would be delighted to see him acknowledged for his dedication to the promotion of boxing on Leeside.

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