The influential group called the International Friends of Cork Boxing is helping to spread the word about Cork's success inside and outside the ring

Over the last 12 months, this Association has embarked on a programme to consolidate links with many cities throughout the world and now has members in situ to develop the boxing bond between Leeside and many immigrants and friends of the rebel city.
The influential group called the International Friends of Cork Boxing is helping to spread the word about Cork's success inside and outside the ring

Brikenta Kotarja of Bantry BC receives the first copy of the new County Champions medal from Michael O'Brien, President of the Cork County Boxing Board, following her victory in the Girl 3, 53kg County Final last Saturday evening. Picture: Doug Minihane

THE Chairman of the International Friends of Cork Boxing (IFCB), Michael O'Brien, recently stated that the organisation had made significant progress over the last 12 months.

O'Brien, a former President of the Cork County Boxing Board, who, during his six-year tenure in office, was honoured by the Cork City Council.

During the last ten years, O'Brien has very successfully operated as a Public Relations Officer with the County Board and the Cork Ex-Boxers Association, (CEBA).

Here, his work has seen him liaise with the boxing diaspora in Europe, the USA and Australia, and these contacts ignited the foundation to formally launch the IFCB.

Over the last 12 months, this Association has embarked on a programme to consolidate links with many cities throughout the world and now has members in situ to develop the boxing bond between Leeside and many immigrants and friends of the rebel city.

The two Presidents of the IFCB, are Frank O'Sullivan, a world famous coach based in Birmingham, and prominent former boxer and member of the Cork Man's Association in New York Donie Carroll. 

Both men have been home to Cork already this year.

Three years ago, in association with Cork City Council, O'Brien networked with the Olympic Club in San Francisco. 

Long time servants of Cork Boxing Dan Lane and Johnny Crowley or Rylane BC. Picture: Doug Minihane
Long time servants of Cork Boxing Dan Lane and Johnny Crowley or Rylane BC. Picture: Doug Minihane

This created a great boxing friendship ship with the US city and culminated in a Cork boxing delegation comprising of boxers and coaches enjoying a very successful trip to San Francisco.

In the aftermath of this visit, O'Brien, through his new found contacts, cemented this relationship on a permanent basis which saw 15 San Franciscans register as friends of the IFCB.

With the advent of the internet in recent years it is now far easier to develop a worldwide membership.

"The boxing page of Thursday's Echo and in particular Echo Live sport has provided an information hub which is greatly appreciated by the boing diaspora abroad," said O'Brien.

To date, the new IFCB has solid contacts in Boston through former Mayor Marty Walsh and former Police chief Pat Mead.

The Association is now picking up members in New York and Washington. 

Businessman Pat Doherty is returning in a group in August while former Dean Sexton's BC boxer Liam O'Neill will be coming home from Vietnam. Both groups are looking forward to visiting the boxing wall in Bishop Lucey Park.

It is also planned to have a further plaque erected in the park on Saturday 10 of September next. 

This ceremony will take place to honour the famous boxing brothers from Mallow. 

Dave, JJ and the legendary Paddy Buckley.

On this day, it it believed that a large circle of friends and family will attend. 

The event will see the Lord Mayor of Cork, Deirdre Forde, and the Mayor of County Cork, Danny Collins, present on this prestigious occasion.

Following the erection of the plaque in the park, a social function will take place at the Glen Boxing Club. 

This is Ireland's oldest club, and Paddy Buckley was renowned for cycling from Mallow to Blackpool and back to train with his friends at the Glen BC.

Meanwhile, the CEBA have been publicly praised for their recent presentation of Jack McAuliffe medals to Cork's All-Ireland champions.

Donal Lyons of Brian Dillons GAA Club and Cyril 'The Bird' Kavanagh pictured at the tribute night to Glen BC Coach Tommy Kelleher, in Cork City Hall
Donal Lyons of Brian Dillons GAA Club and Cyril 'The Bird' Kavanagh pictured at the tribute night to Glen BC Coach Tommy Kelleher, in Cork City Hall

Councillor Mick Nugent said it was another great occasion for Cork boxing on a beautiful summer's day to see so many young athletes avail of the park's facilities.

The former Lord Mayor of Cork Denis Cregan said recently that the Boxing Wall in Bishop Lucey Park was an outstanding monument to the proud tradition of Cork boxing.

He said that the names that are now available for the public to appreciate are legendary. 

He added as long as this work continues in this city that boxing will continue to flourish in Cork.

The CEBA will now resume their golden jubilee celebrations in September. 

To date, this group has produced a special souvenir calendar, introduced a new golden jubilee tie, hosted a gala banquet, erected a plaque to founder member Tim O'Sullivan, presented a special addition of the Jack McAuliffe medal and sponsored the Girl 1 and 2 special championships last December.

Plans are now in place to publish a special souvenir publication titled Rebels in the Ring, organise a Mass for deceased members and schedule an end of year bumper boxing breakfast to bring the curtain down on a magnificent golden jubilee year.

It is also anticipated that many former Cork boxers from many generations will be invited to attend this function. 

The sons and daughters of many of Cork's older fighters have recently taken a great interest in the Cork boxing story, and the CEBA will be delighted to facilitate this, which will further enhance the foundation of the Leeside boxing family.

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