WEST Clare Boxers donned their fighting gloves last Saturday night to demonstrate their loyalty and a sporting acumen, raising much-needed funds for Kilmurry Ibrickane footballers in their quest for All-Ireland club glory.
A fantastic crowd turned out in Cooney’s Quilty Tavern and were treated to a boxing extravaganza which included some interesting ladies’ bouts and a compelling top of the bill battle featuring local youth Keelan Sexton, who is the reigning Irish champion.
The action was absorbing and the local football heroes were on hand to present the trophies to the boxers at the end of each battle. Many of the footballers would have graced the ring in the last decade, with Michael Hogan, Shane and Darren Hickey winning Munster titles in Cork and Waterford before they achieved fame on the football fields.
A note of good wishes from all of the boxers to their footballing heroes which appeared on the front of the nights programme epitomised the tremendous unity which characterises this football hinterland of West Clare.
The ring action ebbed and flowed with all-action battles and some clinical punching all through the evening’s show.
Undoubtedly, Sexton was the centre of attraction for the locals and he really turned in a super performance against Seán Conroy from Kilmaine in Mayo. Leading 11-7 from the first round, he took some time in the second to demonstrate a smashing left hook which had Conroy holding on. He confirmed his superiority in the third with glimpses of his talent which earned him the best-boxer award.
The best bout of the night came in the light middle bout between Joey Rouine from the Kilfenora club and Nenagh’s Munster champion, Andrew Donnelly. This was a torrid affair between two big hitters and although neither conceded an inch of ringspace to the other, one felt that Donnelly’s superiority in height and weight was a daunting disadvantage for Rouine.
Donnelly won the first round 8-4 but Rouine restored parity at the end of the second on 8-8, before Donnelly cranked up the action in the third and final round to win on the score of 10-8.
There were eye-catching displays from the female protagonists with young Kayleigh McCormack from the Kilfenora club finishing her battle with Niamh Ball from Cashen Vale, a club in Kerry which was formed and nurtured by the late Howard Flannery from Ennis Boxing Club. Ball boxed well early on, matching the teak-tough McCormack in some toe-to-toe stuff but the Clare girl prevailed and rocked Ball with a left-right combination in the third, forcing referee Tommy Lyons to terminate proceedings with the Kerry girl out on her feet. Aisling Hogan from the host club overcame height and reach advantage to Kilmaine’s Alison Conroy for a comprehensive and popular victory in the 70 kilo bout.
Ennis boxers Pat Sherlock in the 60 kilo division and Lee Brady in the 57 kilo class both boxed superbly to beat Lee Mitchell from Nenagh and Tomás Mongan from Loughrea respectively and their female clubmate, Antoinette Keane, ground out a good victory over the experienced Donna Mitchell from Nenagh.
Paddy Flynn, a proud Kilmurry-Ibrickane man, fond of his football and immersed in the boxing tradition, was indeed a proud man on Saturday night when his three battling sons, Paul (33kg), Pat (42 kg) and Michael (60 kg) won their respective fights against Tiernan Ball (Cashen Vale), Seamus Nugent (Ennis) and Martin Conroy (Kilmaine). These are interesting times with championships looming for the Flynn brothers, who will undoubeatedly savour a Kilmurry-Ibrickane victory over Portlaoise on Sunday next.
MC Johnnie Carrig waxed lyrical over the night’s boxing and the wonderful response from all of the Clare clubs (hurling and football), who sponsored bouts and boxers on this most innovative tournament. There was a good feeling emanating from this sporting occasion and one hopes that it might be the first of many for Kilmurry-Ibrickane’s heroes.
The club chairman made a presentation to West Clare boxing coach and organiser Noel Hogan, praising his work with all of the aspiring athletes and his energies in compiling such a successful show.
39 kilo boys: Shane Lomax (Ennis) lost to Finian Dolan (Loughrea);
33kg: Paul Flynn (West Clare) beat Tiernan Ball (Cashen Vale);
60kg: Colm Fitzgerald (Ennis) lost to Bim Maughan (Loughrea);
54kg: Barry Coote (Ennis) beat Robert Cassidy (Kilfenora);
39kg: Chris Mongan (West Clare) beat Joe Bohan (Kilmaine);
42kg: Seamus Nugent (Ennis) lost to Patrick Flynn (West Clare);
60kg: Lee Brady (Ennis) beat Tomás Mongan (Loughrea);
57kg: Dylan Costelloe (Ennis) lost to Padraic Malone (West Clare);
52kg: Dara Lomax (Ennis) lost to Alan Behan (West Clare);
Light middle: Joey Rouine (Kilfenora) lost to Andrew Donnelly (Nenagh);
60kg youth: Michael Flynn (West Clare) beat Martin Conroy (Kilmaine);
Pat Sherlock (Ennis) beat Lee Mitchell (Nenagh);
Middle: Barry McCusker (West Clare) lost to D Saunders (Nenagh)
66kg: Wayne Danagher (West Clare) lost to E Mulvihill (Cashen Vale;)
63kg boys: Keelan Sexton (West Clare) beat Seán Conroy (Kilmaine);
Ladies 70kg: Aisling Hogan (West Clare) beat Alison Clancy (Kilmaine);
60kg: Antoinette Keane (Ennis) beat Donna Mitchell (Nenagh);
57kg: Kayleigh McCormack (Kfa) beat Niamh Ball (Cashen Vale);
48 kg: Caoileann McCormack (Kfa) lost to J Mitchell (Nenagh);
48 kg: Jarred Molohan (West Clare) beat Jody Mitchell (Nenagh).