The County Cork Boxing Board is currently planning a big year of boxing celebrations at Leeside in 2024.
The Board has a major promotion and development plan in place to coincide with the centenary of Ireland’s first participation in boxing at the Paris Olympic Games in 1924.
Over the course of the century of competition in many sports, Irish boxers have been the most successful of all.
In the year of the nation’s first appearance, Cork were represented by three of the ten men in the team: Willie Boy Murphy, Joe Kelleher and Mossy Doyle.
All of whom subsequently boxed with the Garda Club upon joining the force.
During the recent Garda annual sports awards, Commissioner Drew Harris made a presentation to Christina Desmond to mark her success in international boxing.
The Cork County Board thanked the Commissioner for his recognition of the Cork boxer’s success.
Given the link between Gardai and Leeside boxing over the years, the Commissioner was invited to consider special Garda sponsorship of the 2024 County Cork Boxing Championships in conjunction with the Boxing Olympics, which will again be will take place in Paris next year.
Many believe this is a great opportunity for Drew Harris to sponsor possibly the most efficient and proactive county board in the country.
Next year, the Cork Boxing Personality of the Year Award will be a prestigious accolade in the Olympic Year.
The 2024 trophy will be dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Magee, a great supporter of amateur boxing.
RTE in Cork was asked to consider this sponsorship. Jimmy did many of his broadcasts from RTE’s studio in Cork.
In addition, there is a very strong link to the local Cork RTE stations: Marty Morrissey was born in Mallow to Michael Corcoran and Tony O Donoghue, both men from Turner’s Cross.
In the letter sent to RTE’s new Managing Director, Kevin Backhurst, he was informed of Magee’s links to Leeside.
On the last Sunday of September 2014, Jimmy Magee met Board Pro Mick O’Brien at Bishop Lucey Park.
I was looking forward to seeing the Boxing Wall of Fame.
Magee got up and recited the Joyce Brothers’ Roche and Buttimer hit.
It had the full story on Mick Leahy and some of the great stories on footballers Paddy Martin and Ring the Gaelic.
Magee convinced Ring to align himself with the Jimmy Magee All-Stars and recalled that Ring’s solution to fixing Cork football was a razor. For many years, Jimmy Magee hosted the IABA’s Awards Night and Dinner; ironically, after he died, it was O’Brien who prepared the mantle for the next five years before the pandemic.
Following the conclusion of the Olympic Games in July, a grand ceremony is expected to take place at the renovated Bishop Lucey Park in mid-September.
The new boxing wall is expected to be in place by then – several new plaques will be erected and this should be a splendid social occasion.
The Lord Mayor’s Parade is also planned to resume next year in the Park, which would then see the presentation of Jack McAuliffe Medals to All National Boxing Champions resume.
In October, a large boxing tournament is planned for the City Council in association with a cultural concert and the publication of a comprehensive souvenir publication.
This will be followed in November by a Centennial Olympic Dinner Dance Dance. All Cork boxing groups will come together in many of these ventures. The common goal is the promotion of boxing and the social aspect of the overall itinerary is to take pride in the sport and recognize and congratulate our athletes.
Along with this, the contribution of hundreds of volunteers over the years will be recognized and appreciated by all.
The sport has experienced peak and trough periods, but it has always prevailed and this is the true spirit of the Cork boxing family.
Another major feature of Leeside’s boxing celebration will be the opening of the Tomas MacCurtain Boxing Museum, which will be located at the Glen Boxing Club.
This will be a great opportunity for all Cork boxing fans to enjoy a maximum variety of artifacts and memorabilia dating back a hundred years.
The Cork Ex-Boxers Association promoted a six-week exhibition of the historical effects of Cork Boxing in 2019.
This was an extraordinary success. It opened to a full house attended by Taoiseach Micháel Martin and Lord Mayor Cllr. John Sheehan. More than 23,000 patrons attended the exhibition over the six weeks and gave an emphatic endorsement, showing that there is great interest in boxing history at Leeside.
Amateur boxing in Cork has enjoyed extraordinary success over the past one hundred and ten years.
The survival of the sport has been challenged on a few occasions but has always prevailed because sport in Cork has been and always will be an inherent part of Cork’s sporting landscape.