Cork's three boxing associations all come together to plan a year of celebrating and continued excellence from the sport

Last weekend all three presidents of these groups met to set out their stalls for the coming year and work in harmony for the greater good of the sport.
Cork's three boxing associations all come together to plan a year of celebrating and continued excellence from the sport

Billy O'Sullivan of Midleton Boxing Club, vice-president of the Cork County Boxing Board. Picture: Doug Minihane

THE organisational structure and foundation of Cork boxing has never in its long history been as strong as it is today.

There is now real unity in the sport of Leeside, and irrespective of the covid set back, the future will see the sport continue to flourish in the southern capital.

There are now three active bodies in Cork, the County Board, the Cork Ex-Boxers Association and the Cork Boxing Fraternity.

Last weekend all three presidents of these groups met to set out their stalls for the coming year and work in harmony for the greater good of the sport.

The coming year will be challenging for all three groups. 

The president of the County Board, Michael O'Brien, said the Board were confident that the sport would re-emerge stronger than ever.

"We have drawn up a very proactive plan for administration of the Board and we will be putting forward a very comprehensive report on improving structures within the clubs," O'Brien said.

"The details of this study were published in last Thursday's boxing page." 

The president of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association, Paddy McSweeney said they are thrilled with the plans in place.

Martin Coughlan, Secretary of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association pictured with his son, World Junior Silver Medalist Eamer, of Riverstown BC. Picture: Doug Minihane
Martin Coughlan, Secretary of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association pictured with his son, World Junior Silver Medalist Eamer, of Riverstown BC. Picture: Doug Minihane

"We are now preparing to celebrate our golden jubilee, and we have a spectacular plan in place. 

"All boxing supporters in Cork will be afforded an opportunity to participate in and enjoy the program of events we have planned."

Conal Thomas is the president of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association. 

This group has made a significant contribution to the promotion of boxing in Cork in recent years.

Many of yesteryears boxing heroes have been honoured and Conal's Association and the now famous Cork Boxing Breakfasts are legendary.

He is a former boxer himself and the father of four-time All-Ireland champion Shelley Thomas.

Conal also had the distinction of being President of the Loughmahon BC when they won Cork's most successful club of the year award in 2016.

Conal is now looking forward to Saturday, September 4th next when his Association, in the presence of the Lord Mayor, will launch the "Friends of Cork Boxing."

The establishment of this group is seen as a dynamic concept with its primary purpose being to trace former boxers and supporters of the sport and invite them to register for membership.

Once they are enrolled, they will become part of a club which will receive regular updates of all boxing activities in Cork.

In addition to that, members will have an opportunity to attend social functions and presentations. 

They will be invited to participate in draws and make suggestions and give opinions on matters they would like to see identified or any boxer or club they would like to see profiled.

This group will facilitate supporters who are at home and abroad. 

The Secretary is Seamus Lucey, a man who is very experienced in the delivery and expansion of groups.

He will be responsible for developing an international network and liaising with Cork people abroad who wish to join the group.

Friends of Cork Boxing are Left to right: Tom Murray, Tom Kelleher, Dan O'Connell, Zaur Antia, and Michael O'Brien.
Friends of Cork Boxing are Left to right: Tom Murray, Tom Kelleher, Dan O'Connell, Zaur Antia, and Michael O'Brien.

Meanwhile, the former Minister for Sport and current member of Sport Ireland Bernard Allen has received honorary membership of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association.

Speaking during the week, the former Lord Mayor of Cork said he was thrilled.

"I am delighted to be nominated and pleased to accept this honorary accolade from the Cork Ex-Boxers on the eve of their Golden Jubilee celebrations."

Bernard then recalled the first boxing bout he had ever seen. It was at the City Hall in 1958.

"As a young boy, I was with my father, and he was a great follower of boxing. On that night there were huge crowds in the hall. 

"The main event featured the Olympic silver medallist Fred Tiedt, and his opponent was Albie Murphy of the Sunnyside BC.

"The packed to the rafter's hall gave the Olympian a great welcome and standing ovation. 

"However, from the first bell the crowd cheered on every blow from Albie. On the night, Albie put in a great performance, but Tiedt was a class act."

Thus began Bernard's interest in Cork boxing. 

Thirty years later he was the Lord Mayor of Cork, and during his year in office he had the privilege of unveiling the first plaque in Bishop Lucey Park.

This plaque was erected to honour Cork's only world champion Jack McAuliffe who was born a No. 5 Christchurch Lane which today is levelled but forms part of Bishop Lucey Park.

When the park was officially opened in 1985 a major row took place about the naming of the amenity. 

However, if Cork boxing was as strong then as it is today, there is no doubt in the minds of many that the park, with pride and justification, would today be known as Jack McAuliffe Park.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more