Cork boxing honours boxing centenarian Eileen O'Connell

Eileen O'Connell is the daughter of Cork's famous heavyweight champion, the legendary Pakey O'Mahony
Cork boxing honours boxing centenarian Eileen O'Connell

Eileen O’Connell pictured at the plaque honouring her fathers achievements at its unveiling in Bishop Lucey Park in August 2019. Picture: Doug Minihane.

LAST month Eileen O'Connell, daughter of Cork's famous heavyweight champion, the legendary Pakey O'Mahony, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Recently, she was congratulated on this milestone by a Cork boxing delegation whom she received at her home in the presence of her sons Louis and Dan.

This visit was organised by another son, Patrick, who could not be there on the day.

The boxing group was led by Paddy McSweeney, President of the Cork Ex Boxers Association (CEBA), and Bernie O'Connor, also of CEBA.

They presented the centurion with a bouquet of flowers. Eileen was also the recipient of many good wishes from other Cork boxing connections. The President of the Board, Michael O'Brien, made representations on behalf of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association.

O'Brien presented Eileen with many warm tributes which were contained in the cards.

This 100-year-old lady was in delightful form as she welcomed all to her home. 

She is a remarkable woman with a very active and alert mind.

Eileen had no difficulty in reading the cards when they were presented to her. 

She proudly proclaimed to her guests that she was the apple of her father's eye.

Pictured with Eileen O’Connell celebrating her 100th birthday recently are, President of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association Mr Paddy McSweeney, Bernie O’Connor, her grandson Louis O’Keeffe, son Dan O’Connell and Michael O’Brien and of the CEBA. Picture: Doug MInihane
Pictured with Eileen O’Connell celebrating her 100th birthday recently are, President of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association Mr Paddy McSweeney, Bernie O’Connor, her grandson Louis O’Keeffe, son Dan O’Connell and Michael O’Brien and of the CEBA. Picture: Doug MInihane

Two years ago, in August 2019, Eileen was the guest of honour of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association at a beautiful ceremony in Bishop Lucey Park, where a plaque was erected to her father, the illustrious Pakey O'Mahony.

This plaque was sponsored and unveiled by Bernie O Connor, who enjoyed a long association with Pakey and his family through his love of boxing and membership of the Blackrock hurling club.

Pakey OMahony, born In Blackpool, was a heavyweight champion of Ireland in 1913. For a man who came late to boxing at 27 years of age, he was a remarkable athlete.

On his way to the Irish crown, he defeated many of the great names on the Irish boxing landscape.

His success was so famous that he was installed as a challenger for the British heavyweight title.

He fought Billy Wells for this belt on June 30 1913, in a fight regarded as an epic. 

In the middle of the third round, Wells caught Pakey with a right hook that fractured his jaw.

In great pain, the Cork man battled on until the 13th round. Despite a spirited performance, the injury became far too great, and he had to retire at the end of that stanza.

Three years later, the Glen boxing club was established and Pakey was installed as the club's first coach.

He married May O'Driscoll from Blackrock and went to live there. Later he trained many great Blackrock hurling teams. 

He trained Cork to All-Ireland hurling glory in 1928,1929 and the famous 1931 victories.

Pakey was a proud son of Leeside and loved by its people. 

Following his fight with Billy Wells he was presented with a very expensive silver replica of the Lonsdale belt.

This belt was on display at the Cork Boxing Exhibition at the City library two years ago.

Meanwhile, the National Elite Championships commenced last weekend.

These Championships will take place over consecutive weekends, culminating on finals night on October 2.

Many of the top boxers in the county were in training camp for the Championships for many months.

Eileen O’Connell, daughter of famed boxer Pakey O’Mahony, receiving a presentation from President of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association Mr Paddy McSweeney to mark her 100th birthday recently. Also included are President of the CCBB Michael O’Brien and Bernie O’Connor of the CEBA. Picture: Doug MInihane
Eileen O’Connell, daughter of famed boxer Pakey O’Mahony, receiving a presentation from President of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association Mr Paddy McSweeney to mark her 100th birthday recently. Also included are President of the CCBB Michael O’Brien and Bernie O’Connor of the CEBA. Picture: Doug MInihane

However, for many clubs, this was a disadvantage as young boxers entering this tournament for the first time had their preparations disrupted due to the Covid -19 regulations.

Against this background, it is hoped that Cork's boxers will perform to the best of their abilities and Leeside will celebrate Elite success.

Cork boxing were visitors to the Glen club who has extended best wishes to all boxers, coaches and clubs at the Elites. 

Over the last five years, members of the Cork Ex boxers Association have been guests of the IABA on finals night.

They are once again this year looking forward to attending the National Stadium on the biggest night of the boxing year.

Elsewhere, on Wednesday last, David O'Brien, the newly appointed City librarian, was a visitor to the Glen BC from a historical as well as a sporting viewpoint. 

David wanted to pay tribute to Ireland's oldest club, which has stood the test of time.

David was welcomed by the club coach Tom Kelleher and the President of the County Board. Cork's top librarian said he was very impressed by the club's premises and the history which adorns its walls.

He said he was anxious that the people of Cork should know more and take pride in clubs like the Glen.

David O'Brien then announced that he would like to organise a series of events next year to coincide with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of CEBA.

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