Boxing has lost a great friend, ally and supporter with the passing of Brendan Mooney

Mooney was loved by the boxing fraternity all over Ireland.  He was never seen as a journalist, but a real friend to the boxers
Boxing has lost a great friend, ally and supporter with the passing of Brendan Mooney

Members of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association pictured with retired journalist Brendan Mooney (4th from right) following a function in his honour at the Linen Weaver Bar on Paul Street. 

A dark cloud of genuine sadness hovered over Cork boxing circles last weekend following the death of Brendan Mooney.

Brendan was a sports journalist who majored in athletics and boxing.

However, it was Cork's boxing administrators who developed a great relationship with him, and this partnership was cemented over a 45-year period.

The late great Tommy Hyde is on record as saying the Joyce brothers Kieran and Gordon were the greatest ever to come out of Cork with ten Elite titles between them.

A big player in recording their triumphs was Brendan Mooney, a man who travelled everywhere to cover their fights.

On one famous night in February in the mid 1980s, when both brothers won national Elite titles, Brendan wrote the following. 

"The Northside and Rebel city of Cork can be immensely proud of the Sunnyside duo of brothers Kieran and Godon Joyce.

"Last night they rocked the National Stadium and it was truly amazing to see the support the received from Dublin fight fans as they brought honour to their club and county."

On Friday last, Gordon Joyce, who holds the unique record of being the youngest man to hold an Elite title paid this tribute. 

Gordon and Kieran Joyce pictured with Brendan Mooney, the former Irish Examiner sports writer and great friend of their coach and mentor Albie Murphy. Picture: Doug Minihane
Gordon and Kieran Joyce pictured with Brendan Mooney, the former Irish Examiner sports writer and great friend of their coach and mentor Albie Murphy. Picture: Doug Minihane

"I am so sad the hear that Brendan is gone. He went everywhere with us as we boxed all over Ireland.

"On many of the journeys, he drove the car and entertained us with many of his great stories. 

"I am gutted to loose such a friend."

Born in Westmeath, Mooney pursued a career in journalism which began with the Westmeath Independent and eventually took him to Academy Street in Cork in 1973 to work for both the Irish Examiner and Evening Echo.

At that time on Leeside, boxing was in recession with only a handful of clubs. 

However, Cork was fortunate to have two very able administrators in Dan O'Connell and Victor Aston.

O'Connell approached the editor of the Evening Echo and made his case for local coverage of boxing. 

The editor informed O'Connell that the Echo had no boxing correspondent.

But he said that if O'Connell was prepared to show a young journalist the ropes...it was then that Brendan Mooney bounced onto the boxing scene in the southern capital. 

He was also the athletic correspondent with both papers.

Mooney, who covered nine Olympiads, started at the Montreal 1976 Games and developed a personnel relationship with O'Connell, which stood the test of time.

Prior to the Montreal Games, the Irish Elite team sat up a training camp in Kerry. 

At that time, O'Connell was an assistant coach and Felix Jones was President of the IABA.

Part of the training took place at a local beach known as Casey's Cove. 

Brendan Mooney was a very good sprinter and trained with the Irish boxing team during those sessions.

Up to 1976, the Cork Examiner and Evening Echo newspapers did not qualify for press accreditation to attend Olympiads. 

However, when Felix Jones, an executive member of the International Olympic Committee, was introduced to Brendan Mooney through O'Connell, the Examiner group were facilitated for all future Olympiads.

Brendan Mooney had the distinction of being the first Academy street journalist to attend the Olympic Games.

Last weekend Dan O'Connell said: "I am deeply saddened at the loss of my lifelong friend. I regret I could not get home from Spain for the funeral. 

Boxing great Tony Flanagan and Dan O'Connell have both paid tribute to Brendan Mooney
Boxing great Tony Flanagan and Dan O'Connell have both paid tribute to Brendan Mooney

"The greatest tribute I can pay to Brendan is he was a true gentleman who had a warm greeting for everyone.

"He also saw the positive in everything and never reflected on any negative aspect on the sport, organisation, individual or administrators."

Tony Flanagan a long-time member of the Cork Ex-Boxers was also a lifelong friend of Brendan Mooney. 

They enjoyed many great coffee mornings together.

"He was an outstanding journalist who gave very detailed coverage to boxing and athletics," he said.

The Chairman of the Ex-Boxers, JJ Murphy, a personnel friend, said that for years, Brendan would often entertain him with stories about the characters he met on his journalistic travels.

"He was a pleasure to know and will sadly be missed by the boxing community," said JJ.

Tom Kelleher, the man today known as Mr Cork Boxing, also paid tribute to Brendan.

"Brendan Mooney was to Cork boxing followers the Google of his day.

"He told many very funny stories of the journalists' cramped conditions in the Olympic villages but he was there for Cork boxing and also fully informed followers of how our boxers were doing."

Cork County Board Secretary John Wiseman said Mooney was great for the sport. 

The remains of Brendan Mooney are removed from St patrick’s Church, Rochestown, following his funeral
The remains of Brendan Mooney are removed from St patrick’s Church, Rochestown, following his funeral

"Brendan was also on hand to promote Cork boxing and was always very helpful to beef up tournaments and help the club organising them."

On Saturday the 1st of October 2016, Brendan Mooney was honoured at a Cork Boxing Breakfast.

The President of the Board, Michael O'Brien, said on the day.

"Today is a day of celebration to mark the contribution of a special man who immersed himself in our sport and holds a very special place in the annals of Cork boxing."

Last weekend, on behalf of all in Cork boxing, Michael O'Brien extended their deepest sympathy to Brendan's wife Anne and family. 

"Farewell, dear friend, and sleep softly," he said.

Sonia O’Sullivan consoles widow Ann Mooney at the funeral of Brendan Mooney at St patrick’s Church, Rochestown
Sonia O’Sullivan consoles widow Ann Mooney at the funeral of Brendan Mooney at St patrick’s Church, Rochestown

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