THE majestic autumn splendor of Bishop Lucey Park on Saturday morning last, magnificently captured the elegance and panoramic beauty of the picturesque City Centre Park.
Such a setting complimented the proud tradition of Cork Boxing as a huge attendance descended on the park to celebrate the unveiling of a Plaque honouring the Buckley Family from Mallow.
The famed Buckley Brother’s Paddy, J.J. and Dave were household names throughout the entire Country, however, the extended family each of whom were outstanding boxers, also and equally included, PA’ senior, John L and Dan.
Prior to the official proceedings commencing Piper Norman O’Rourke gave a rendition of many of Cork’s popular anthems, which engaged the crowd and created a superb atmosphere.
The backdrop to The Boxing Wall, once again displayed the Cork Ex-Boxers Association Flag while complimenting the Rebel Flag and a Tricolor which delightfully fluttered in the gentle breeze. Seating was provided for the guests and much of the attendance.
At 12 noon, the MC Michael O’Brien welcomed all to the Boxing Wall on what he described as a very historic and auspicious occasion, he extended apologies on behalf of the Lord Mayor who the previous day had confirmed her attendance but Cllr. Deidre Forde withdrew due to illness.
The City of Cork and its people were then represented by a Deputy Lord Mayor, this was the very hardworking and popular Cllr. Dan Boyle, who received a very warm welcome on being introduced to the assembled gathering, which included over 300 members of the Buckley Family and friends.
This was an astonishing figure and as the sermon went on the crowd began to swell, as boxing followers and sport people from all codes arrived at the cerimony in a gesture of appreciation to the Buckley’s.
The MC then gave a brief history of Cork Boxing folklore and the part played by the Buckley Family.
He said this represented over 100 years commencing with PA’ senior who boxed in the old Opera House in 1913, right up to the generations of today where Luke and Kenneth represent The Duhallow Boxing Club.
Dave Buckley was synonymous for a man who mostly fought with one hand and came very close in his famous bout with the Olympic Medalist John Mc Nally. John L and Dan were feisty fighters who also left their calling card in many boxing halls nationwide.
Paddy was the family member widely acclaimed for defeating the European Champion Maxi Mc Cullagh, he was famous for cycling from Mallow to Blackpool and back, to spar with a friend in the Glen Boxing Club, Paddy the Champ Martin, father of the Taoiseach Michael Martin.
Paddy Buckley’s halcyon years were 1946 to 1952 when he was selected to represent Ireland against Germany.
The MC highlighted last Saturday 24th September as the day the Cork Ex-Boxers Association held their first meeting and this marked The Ex Act Commemorative Day in their Golden Jubilee year.
He also extended a goodwill message to the Buckley Family from the Taoiseach Michael Martin.
The Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr. Dan Boyle then addressed the attendance, he spoke eloquently and with great passion about the link boxing had with the City Hall over many generations, Cllr. Boyle said boxing had done this Country proud on the World stage, and was the Country’s most successful sport in Irish Olympic History.
He identified families such as the Buckley’s, who were the essence and the hearth beat of a great sport with a great tradition in Cork.
He congratulated the Buckley’s on their elevation and acknowledgement in becoming a public part of Cork Boxing History in Bishop Lucey Park.
The National Anthem was then played followed by the Joe Buckley unveiling the Plaque. Joe was quiet emotional as he addressed the gathering and reflected on his family contribution to the promotion of Cork Boxing for over a century, he thanked all who assisted in any way in making the event a great success on a day which he said was proud one for the Buckley Family.
Among the attendance was C.E.B.A. founder member Tony Flanagan, World renowned International Referee and Administrator Dan O’Connell, Frank O’Sullivan M.B.E. the only Cork Man ever honoured by Queen Elizabeth for service to the development of amateur boxing and Don Murray affectionately known as ‘The Don’ the only Cork Man to win in the same year 1962 – the Irish Junior and Senior Heavyweight Titles-.
A very special couple of minutes then followed, when Edel Buckley led a young group from Mallow in a recital of the Boxers Prayer. The ceremony then came to close with the playing of ‘A Nation Once Again’.
It was then onto the Glen Boxing Club in Blackpool for a reception where the guests were welcomed and greeted by President Mick O’Sullivan, Chairman Antony Connolly and Head Coach Tom Kelleher.
Elsewhere, the Celtic Box Cup annual tournament resumed in Dungarvan last weekend, The Army won the cup this year, many Cork boxers participated with congratulations extended to Gold Medalists Katie and Leah O’Keeffe, Kanturk B.C., Michael Faulkner, Fr.Horgan’s B.C., Aron O’Donogue, Golden Gloves B.C., Patrick Doherty, Fr. Horgan’s B.C., Ryan Mc Carthy, Fr.Horgan’s B.C. Owen Walsh,Togher B.C.