Cork Ex-Boxers pay tribute to Dave O'Connor of Suit Distributors for his continued support of boxing

O'Connor presented the Taoiseach Michael Martin with a specially commissioned Cork Ex-Boxers Association (CEBA) Golden Jubilee tie. The tie was to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association. 
Cork Ex-Boxers pay tribute to Dave O'Connor of Suit Distributors for his continued support of boxing

Dave O’Connor of Suits Distributors presenting a specially commissioned commemorative tie to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the CEBA Golden Jubilee Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Doug Minihane

DAVE O'CONNOR of Suit Distributors and the award-winning Jack Doyle range, recently presented the Taoiseach Michael Martin with a specially commissioned Cork Ex-Boxers Association (CEBA) Golden Jubilee tie.

The presentation took place at the recent CEBA banquet in the Rochestown Park Hotel. 

The tie was to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association. 

It was designed by former St Colman's BC boxer Ray Nugent and replicates the spirit of the third oldest group of former ex-boxers in the world.

The Taoiseach had the honour of receiving the first tie and said he was delighted to accept an item which reflected the foresight of his father Paddy Martin and Tim O'Sullivan, the founder members of CEBA.

Following the first presentation, many of these ties were later gifted to guests. 

Dave O'Connor is no stranger to the world of Cork boxing. 

For many years now he has been a sponsor to the sport.

As a youth, O'Connor boxed with the Ballyphehane BC winning both County and Munster titles. 

He has been a great follower of the careers of Gary Spike O'Sullivan and former WBO middleweight champion Steve Collins, who was honoured on Leeside last November to mark the 25th anniversary of his world title wins.

Over the last 20 years David O'Connor has sponsored the Ex-Boxers Association and also presented members with the finely tailored award-winning Jack Doyle sport jackets.

O'Connor is well known and enjoys a worldwide network of influential sporting connections.

Conal Thomas, on behalf of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association presenting a Distinguished Service Award to Catherine and Patrick Buckley to honour the Mallow familys long association with and support of Cork Boxing at the CEBA Golden Jubilee Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Doug Minihane
Conal Thomas, on behalf of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association presenting a Distinguished Service Award to Catherine and Patrick Buckley to honour the Mallow familys long association with and support of Cork Boxing at the CEBA Golden Jubilee Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Doug Minihane

He has fitted out many clubs and organisations including the FAI and is a personal friend of Alex Ferguson of Manchester United.

In thanking David O'Connor for his very appropriate gift in the night, the event coordinator Mick O'Brien said he was a great supporter of the sport.

"Dave is known throughout the sporting universe and has been extremely generous to many people.

"However, it is my function to confer our gratitude to what he has done for boxing and I am delighted to acknowledge his years of generosity to our sport and I would encourage all to support Dave O'Connor and his company Suit Distributors.

At the same function five Golden Glove awards were presented to boxers from each decade of the last 50 years. 

These winners were selected by a CEBA sub committee. 

The recipients were Harry Butt, Gordon Joyce, Seanie Barrett, Kevin Walsh and Christina Desmond.

Presentation footage was published on Facebook and this prompted Frank O'Sullivan, the former Sunnyside BC boxer, to comment. Frank said: "The golden Gloves were magnificent and appropriately captured the spirit of the golden jubilee celebrations.

"I have seen a lot of boxing trophies of my time but these were individually remarkable." 

Frank had given serious consideration to attending the gala function by was prevented from doing so due to a hospital appointment.

However, the Birmingham based Northsider was in Cork in March when he was presented with the Cork boxing personality of the year award.

Tony Flanagan of Sunnyside BC, one of the original founder members of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association, receiving a Distinguished Service Award from Martin Coughlan at the CEBA Golden Jubilee Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Doug Minihane
Tony Flanagan of Sunnyside BC, one of the original founder members of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association, receiving a Distinguished Service Award from Martin Coughlan at the CEBA Golden Jubilee Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Doug Minihane

O'Sullivan who enjoys the reputation of being one of the world's finest amateur boxing coaches has been running the very successful Birmingham ABC gym for the past 65 years.

He is constantly in touch with the Cork boxing scene and extended his congratulations to the five Golden Glove winners.

The award were a special edition to mark the occasion.

The gloves were produced and sponsored by the Body Mechanics Gym in Douglas.

This is a 96fm award-winning gym of the year.

The Proprietors are Cian O'Brien, the former Loughmahon boxer and Philip Royle, the former Cork Con rugby player.

Cian said they were delighted to be associated with the celebration and extended their best wishes to CEBA in their golden jubilee year.

Meanwhile, Tony Flannagan is the last surviving member of the first CEBA Committee. 

He is still an action and a member fifty years later.

Tony was presented at the banquet with a mounted piece of crystal glass to mark his longstanding service to the work of the Association.

He is former All-Ireland champion in addition to being the holder of County and Munster titles. 

Up to recently, he worked as a coach with the Joyce brothers, Kieran and Gordon and the Sunnyside club.

Tony is a worthy recipient of this award and recognition as he has always epitomised the true spirit of amateur boxing. 

Conal Thomas sponsored a special award to acknowledge the contribution to boxing made by the Buckley family of Mallow and much of their success will be featured in a future edition of this column.

The oldest link with the Cork Ex-Boxers Association was their first meeting venue and this was Canty's Bar, on Pembroke Street.

For many years CEBA met at this venue. 

The owner Ger Buttimer and his wife Dianna were special guests on the night and it was appropriate that their contribution was publicly acknowledged on a great night of celebration for Cork Boxing.

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