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‘We’ll be back’

MUHAMMAD Ali is set to make a return visit to his ancestral home of Ennis with his wife Lonnie revealing this week “we will be back”. Thousands of people turned out on Tuesday to give the boxer a hero’s welcome to Ennis and the family were so moved by what they witnessed that Lonnie has vowed that the family will make a return visit to the Banner.And seeing as the pair are permanent residents of Phoenix Arizona, which has been twinned with Ennis for a long number of years, the couple should have no trouble keeping up-to-date with goings on in Ali’s ancestral home.Speaking to those gathered for a civic reception in Ennis on Tuesday, which was broadcast live via a big screen to thousands of fans in Abbey Street Car Park, Lonnie thanked the people of Ennis for the welcome they had given to the Ali family.She said, “It’s interesting because if you look at Muhammad’s pugilistic skills and …

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A proud day for Ali

HE was introduced as a “proud Irish man”, and for those few lucky enough to gain access to the civic reception held in his honour, it was clear that for Muhammad Ali, Tuesday, September 1 the day he returned to his Ennis roots, was indeed a very proud day for both he and his family.Ali and his family were visibly touched by the outpouring of support and love for this son of Ennis as he returned to his ancestral home.

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A reunion of the O’Gradys

‘WOUNDED but not defeated’, the words that adorn the O’Grady family crest and an appropriate motto for the man who would go on to become world heavyweight champion.It was an emotional day for three members of the O’Grady family in Ennis who not only were invited to attend the civic reception held in honour of Muhammad Ali’s visit, but they were all personally called on stage by Ali’s wife, Lonnie, to meet the champ.

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Corley’s vision realised this week

IT’S been seven years of a wait but this week saw the realisation of a vision long held by former Ennis Town Council chairman Michael Corley.Seven years ago, the former councillor first proposed that Muhammad Ali be invited to Ennis in light of the boxer’s family links with the town. And this week, Mr Corley was thrilled to sit amongst those invited to attend a civic reception held in the legendary boxer’s honour.

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Boxing fraternity pay homage

THE country’s boxing fraternity weighed in with their support for Muhammad Ali during the former heavy-weight boxing champion’s visit to Ennis this week.As well as local boxers, renowned Irish trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick was among those invited to attend the civic reception in which Muhammad Ali was honoured as the first Freeman of Ennis.

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Thousands gather at the Turnpike to meet The Greatest

THE sound of distant sirens stirred the approximate 2,500 people gathered in the Turnpike on Tuesday afternoon. An eclectic gathering surrounded the protective barriers, straining for optimum position, from where they hoped to acquire a view of Muhammad Ali. Gripped by excitement, dozens of children, most not tall enough to see over the barriers, peered through them. Many of their parents weren’t even born when Ali was king of the boxing world and a figure who spoke out on issues of race, war and religion. Yet the anticipation was sincere, regardless of age, race or home address of the people crammed together in Turnpike on September 1.   Decades removed from his peak, Muhammad Ali still has the capacity to unite and excite. As for the sirens, the first blast steered a tremor through the crowd. A minute or so later, a guard arrived on a motorbike, pursued by a BMW. Sensing that Ali was seated inside, a handful, including Kilfenora …

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