Cork Boxing honours one of its best - the late Maurice Walsh with a plaque on their wall of fame

On the day, coaches and boxers for all Cork's clubs came out in great numbers to pay tribute to a man who became a true legend in the history of Cork and Irish boxing.
Cork Boxing honours one of its best - the late Maurice Walsh with a plaque on their wall of fame

Cork Boxing: Margaret Walsh with her four sons, Pa, Billy, Kevin and Michael following the unveiling of the plaque in honour of her late husband Maurice on the Boxing Wall in Bishop Lucey Park on Saturday. Picture: Doug Minihane.

ON Saturday last, before a huge attendance at Bishop Lucey Park, a plaque was unveiled on the Boxing Wall in memory of the late Maurice Walsh of the St Colman's BC.

Despite the forecast and the threat of inclement weather, the park looked resplendent in the autumnal sunshine.

On the day, coaches and boxers for all Cork's clubs came out in great numbers to pay tribute to a man who became a true legend in the history of Cork and Irish boxing.

Amongst the attendance were many of Cork's great boxing families and Irish champions from all generations.

These included Gordon Joyce, Seanie Barrett, Paul Buttimer and Dr Eanna Falvey, the last male Cork boxer to win an Elite title for St Colman's under Walsh.

Amongst the attendance was former Lord Mayor Denis Cregan accompanied by a man who knew Maurice so well, former boxing correspondent with the Echo Brendan Mooney.

Proceedings commenced at 11 am. 

From the gate of Bishop Lucey Park, a parade in honour of Maurice was led by the Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Fergal Dennehy., alongside a famous Cork piper Norman O'Rourke.

The parade included boxers and coaches from every club in the city and county dressed in their club tracksuits, supported by members of the Cork Board in their green blazers.

The procession made its way up through the park to the Boxing Wall where a huge turnout of Cork Ex Boxers Association (CEBA) members warmly greeted the marching parties.

Cork boxing: International referee and long time St Colman's BC member unveiling the plaque in honour of his great friend Maurice Walsh in Bishop Lucey Park last Saturday. Picture: Doug Minihane.
Cork boxing: International referee and long time St Colman's BC member unveiling the plaque in honour of his great friend Maurice Walsh in Bishop Lucey Park last Saturday. Picture: Doug Minihane.

The National anthem was then played . Following this, the MC, Michael O Brien, welcomed all. 

O'Brien thanked all for the attendance, particularly those that played pivotal roles in their organisations.

He also thanked Martin Coughlan, Secretary of the Cork EX Boxers, and Dough Minihane, Cork boxing photographer for the last ten years.

He then apologised on behalf of IABA for President Dom O'Rourke and CEO Fergal Carruth who could not be present due to the Elite finals taking place on that day.

The first speaker was Cllr Fergal Dennehy, who referred to the many occasions where he met Maurice and outlined various incidents where he had been of tremendous help to him, adding that it was right and fitting that a man who had made such a notable contribution to boxing should be honoured in this way.

The Deputy Lord Mayor was followed by the Vice President of the Cork Board, Billy O'Sullivan. who said he had great memories of Maurice as he was also a member of the St Colman's club many years ago.

He noted that many young boxers were fortunate to learn so much from him and his rich legacy to the sport will live on in both Cork and Irish boxing circles.

The MC then introduced Kevin Walsh, son of Maurice, who, on behalf on the Walsh family, thanked all for their attendance and those who had organised the ceremony.

Kevin then took a trip down memory lane and reflected from the treasure trove of cherished memories he had of Maurice both as his dad and as his boxing coach.

He regaled the attendance with many hilarious stories and recalled the day of a County Championships when due to a lack of transport for his boxers, Maurice arranged for a horsebox to be the mode of transportation.

When they reached their destination, the horsebox door was opened, and to the bewilderment of many onlookers, Maurice's young charges piled out of the horsebox ready for action and raring to go.

It was a beautiful eulogy to his father bringing smiles and laughter to many faces on a day when Maurice was lovingly remembered.

Cork boxing: Kevin Walsh who gave an emotional and inspiring speech on behalf of his family at the unveiling of the plaque in honour of his father Maurice ‘Pip’ Walsh on the Boxing Wall in Bishop Lucey Park. Picture: Doug Minihane.
Cork boxing: Kevin Walsh who gave an emotional and inspiring speech on behalf of his family at the unveiling of the plaque in honour of his father Maurice ‘Pip’ Walsh on the Boxing Wall in Bishop Lucey Park. Picture: Doug Minihane.

Prior to the main event, the unveiling of the plaque by Dan O 'Connell, Mr O'Connell, in his wide-ranging and comprehensive address, gave an insight into a man he had enjoyed great occasions with over many years.

O'Connell said that not only was Maurice an extraordinary successful coach with his club St Colman's, but he also left his mark with many Cork and Irish international teams.

He added that Maurice was a warm, humble and friendly man but, above all, a gentleman and a friend to all who knew him.

He then added that he had three great attributes, the humanity to listen, the capacity to learn, and the generosity of spirit to impart his knowledge to all.

Then reflecting on Cork's famed Boxing Wall, he said there is no other wall, there is no other city, there is no other boxing community that honours its personalities and champions both past and present from both inside and outside the ring in this unique way.

Following his speech, he then unveiled the plaque to prolonged applause. 

Dan O'Connell then made a presentation of a replica plaque to Margret Walsh, wife of the late Maurice, as the piper played A Nation Once Again.

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