TWO of North Cork's political heavyweights are set slug it out in the ring for bragging rights at a fundraising boxing tournament in Mitchelstown.
Fermoy based Cllr Noel 'Raging Bull' McCarthy has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by his county council colleague Kevin 'Rocky' O'Keeffe, with the pair set to go toe-to-toe in the St Patrick's Eve Punch Up.
The event, organised by the Mitchelstown Rugby Club, will see 30 amateur male and female boxers take to a specially erected ring in a unit at the Coolnanave Business Park.
It will have all the trappings of a 'big fight night', seating for more than 800 spectators, massive wall-mounted TV screens, referees, medical staff and card girls in parading around the ring between rounds.
However, the main attraction is bound to be the fight between the two councillors, who will replace their usual verbal sparring across the council chamber for a confrontation of a far more physical kind.
Despite never having stepped into a boxing ring in his life, and admitting that he is "far from being at the peak of physical condition", Cllr McCarthy said he is looking forward to the big occasion.
"Kevin sent out the challenge for another politician to step into the ring with him and I took it up. I'm just wondering if his father, Ned, will be acting as his corner man," said Cllr McCarthy.
"I will be starting training next Monday night with Timmy O'Flynn at the Avondhu Boxing Club and hope to have at least six sessions before the fight. I will also have Cllr Tadgh O'Donovan as my manager and I have no doubt he won't let me take it easy in the gym," he added.
Cllr McCarthy already has a game plan for the bout, which involves "sticking like glue" to his opponent.
"Kevin is well used to wrestling with cows, so the last thing I want is to allow him to long arms to get heavy punches in. If that happens I will be hitting the deck for sure," he said.
"My game plan is to stick to him like glue and get my own punches in. Kevin is a few weeks ahead of me in training, so I might request he gets a handicap like tying one hand behind his back. That could be the best chance I have," he added.
Tickets for the White Collar boxing night priced at €20 are available from Ed Horgan on 087 4179792.