LAST Saturday morning, the Maldron Hotel facilitated the return of the now-famous Cork Boxing Breakfast.
It was a unique occasion hosted by the outgoing President of the Cork Board, Michael O'Brien, to honour his fellow officers for their outstanding service on behalf of Cork boxing during his six-year tenure as Board chief.
The guest of honour was the deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Fergal Dennehy.
In his address, he said it was widely acknowledged that the Cork County Boxing Board was the envy of all and had blazed a trail as the most innovative and proactive County Boards.
"This board was led by Mick O'Brien, and from his first day in office, Cork boxing was completely transcended and today stands as the most hard-working, creative and progressive units in Irish sport.
"This is a tribute to one man who as a relentless worker, set very high standards, led by example and encouraged his fellow officers to raise the bar which was to the ultimate benefit of all in Cork boxing."
O'Brien thanked the deputy Lord Mayor for his warm tribute and then went on to commend his officer board for their loyalty, commitment and dedication to promoting boxing in Cork.
O'Brien then made a presentation of individually inscribed glass awards to vice President Billy O'Sullivan, Treasurer Nicola Murphy, Registrar John Casey, Time Keeper Aine McLoughlin, Liaison Officer Louise Forde and Development Officer Vancs O'Connell.
All recipients received a great response in appreciation of their work from the guests.
O'Brien then apologised for a number of people who could not be there on the day, including Paddy McSweeney, President of the Cork Ex Boxers.
O'Brien, also acting as MC, then welcomed Caitríona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners and Conal Thomas, President of the Cork Boxing Fraternity, whom he specifically thanked for his support and patronage over the years.
The MC also welcomed Trevor Walsh of 96FM, who was recording the occasion for broadcast on his weekend sports programme.
This was the first Breakfast in 20 months, and O'Brien thanked Tom Murray of Developers Citydwell for sponsoring the event.
Since the last Cork Boxing Breakfast, Cork boxing has lost two outstanding ambassadors in Maurice Walsh of St Colman's BC and Tim O'Sullivan, founder member of the Cork Ex Boxers.
In their honour, O'Brien initiated the Maurice Walsh and Tim O'Sullivan Memorial silver plates.
The worthy recipients of these prestigious awards were the respective Secretaries of the Cork County Board, John Wiseman, and the long-standing Secretary of the Cork Ex Boxers, Martin Coughlan.
O'Brien was lavish in his praises as he acknowledged their contribution to the sport of boxing.
Fittingly, the Maurice Walsh plate was presented by his son Pa Walsh to John Wiseman while Michael O'Brien made the presentation to Martin Coughlan.
Amidst a magnificent atmosphere, the service of the Breakfast was very efficient, and the hotel manager Joe Kennedy and his staff were complimented on their presentation.
On the day, it was also the 32nd anniversary of the death of Sunnyside BC coaching legend Albie Murphy, and the attendance was requested to give a dignified round of applause to perpetuate the memory of this magnificent Cork boxing man.
As is tradition at the Breakfast's, the guests were treated to a musical interlude, and some fine renditions of famous anthems were provided by Dery McCarthy and Cyril Kavanagh who managed to raise the roof.
Two other presentations were then made to mark the outstanding public relations work of Michael Kelleher and long-standing photographer Doug Minihane.
O'Brien was lavish in his praise of both men, and the citation on their awards fully acknowledged their contribution to the sport on Leeside.
It was also announced that Doug Minihane would be conferred with the distinction of becoming the first honorary member of the Friends of Cork Boxing group, which will be launched at City Hall by the Lord Mayor in the near future.
The new President of the Cork County Boxing Board, Billy O'Sullivan, then addressed the attendance, and in a five speech, outlined his plans for the future of Cork boxing.
He asked for the support of all and said he was looking forward to working with everybody in sporting harmony.
Meanwhile, the first Cork boxing action of the season will take place at the Glen BC on the 5th and 6th of November, when the Boys and Girls 1,2 Championships will take place.
Elsewhere, Aine McLaughlin made history recently when she was inducted s the first female member of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association.
Aine's achievement will be fully featured in a future edition of this column.
On Sunday last at the County Senior Hurling Championships, the rapid growth of Cork boxing was being discussed by a number of GAA patrons.
Among them was the well-known Mayfield GAA stalwart Mossie Barry who expressed great delight when he was informed he would be receiving an invitation to attend the next scheduled Boxing Breakfast.