TAOISEACH Micheál Martin was guest of honour at the Cork Ex Boxers Association Golden Jubilee banquet which took place at the Rochestown Park Hotel on Saturday night last.
This event was a proud celebration of Cork boxing as the former pugilists gloriously reflected on the success of their sport and its boxers over the last 50 years.
In 1972, the Cork Ex Boxers Association was established by two former international boxers, Tim O'Sullivan and Paddy 'the Champ' Martin, father of the Taoiseach.
Their primary purpose initially was to support the promotion of boxing and to assist former boxers who had fallen on hard times.
However, over the last half-century, this organisation has expanded its portfolio. Today, CEBA plays a big part in the marketing of the sport and honouring the success achieved by Cork's boxers.
In his address, the Taoiseach warmly congratulated the group on celebrating their golden jubilee. He reflected on the early years and paid tribute to the lifelong friendship his father had with Tim O'Sullivan.
The Taoiseach regaled the attendance with many witty stories. Referring to his own father he said he often mentioned how proud he was to be part of an association that undertook the organisation of having Jack Doyle buried in his hometown of Cobh in 1978.
Martin praised the outstanding work by today's group of ex-boxers.
On behalf of the people of Cork the Lord Mayor, Cllr Colm Kelleher, congratulated CEBA on their fifty years of dedication to the sport. To mark the founder members' foresight, presentations were then made to the Martin and O'Sullivan families by Caitríona Twomey and Paddy McSweeney.
As part of the golden jubilee celebrations, five golden gloves were presented to five boxers from each decade. Founder members awards were also presented on the night in addition to distinguished services awards.
A full report on all the presentations will be carried on next Thursday's Echo.
Saturday's event was described as an outstanding success by event co-ordinator Mick O'Brien who praised John McHale of The Echo as an 'outstanding' MC for the evening.