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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Drogheda Boxing Club full of hardworking men

Published 23/08/2006 | 00:11

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It is great to see Drogheda Amateur Boxing Club still going on after 70 years. When I look back, I realise that the people that started the boxing club have passed away. They were great workers for the club, which was started in 1936. I will name a few people that were in the club that time; they included Peter Lyons, Johnnie and Paddy Connor, Jimmy and Paddy Matthews, Tucker Condra, Tommy Hedney, Paddy Soho McCormack, Johnnie Coyle, Paddy Smith, Paddy and Jimmy McQuillan.

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It is great to see Drogheda Amateur Boxing Club still going on after 70 years. When I look back, I realise that the people that started the boxing club have passed away.

They were great workers for the club, which was started in 1936. I will name a few people that were in the club that time; they included Peter Lyons, Johnnie and Paddy Connor, Jimmy and Paddy Matthews, Tucker Condra, Tommy Hedney, Paddy Soho McCormack, Johnnie Coyle, Paddy Smith, Paddy and Jimmy McQuillan.

The club house was in Scholes Lane and it was 1-3 to join the club, 6p per week.

I remembers going to the AOH Hall in Shop Street, there was a boxing tournament and I can remember is that the lads that box, Mighty Owney Reilly, Paddy and Jimmy McQuillan, beat two Dublin lads.

That was in 1950. When I joined the club the trainer was Mr Johnnie Coyle, a great man who took no nosense from anyone.

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights there were two sessions, seven to nine was the youngsters from 11 years of age to 17 years of age. Then the senior members took over.

The youngsters were Tommy Spat Jein, Peter and Brian McPhilips RIP, Michael Coyle, Liam ‘Joker’ Collins, Paddy McDonnell and Jackie Black.

The senior boxers were Tommy Murphy, John Farrell, John Carolan, Frank Pentony, Aidan Bailey, Jim McHugh and Jim Maguire. If I’ve left anyone out then I’m sorry.

A few lads from other sports used to train in the club during the winter, they were Jimmy Mulroy, Newtown Blues and Louth player, also Jim Monaghan who used to play rugby for Palmers Town Rugby Club.

When the Leinster Boxing Championship took place in the 1959-60 season in the National Stadium the Boxing Club Committeee asked Jim Monaghan to take part in the Championship.

He took part in the Heavey weight class. He beat two rugby players to win the title and the club were delighted.

I won the flyweight beating my clubman John ‘Redmoss’ Farrell. The top men in the TABA wanted Jim Monaghan to go for the senior championship but Jim said no. It was a pity.

In the late 50sand early 60s you would have boxing tournaments every weekend in places like Navan, Dundalk, Drogheda and Balbriggan.

In the Whitworth Hall you could pack the hall; there were great bouts. B McPhillips v F Collins, P Murphy v C Devlin, Liam Collins v Joe Leonard, Frank Pentony v Johnnie Gormley, Mick Dyas v Jim Callaghan, Paddy McDonnell v Joe Tallon.

The Drogheda club left Scholes and went down to the hen shed in John Street for one year. It was in John Street that I won the Irish junior flyweight title.

There used to be big boxing tournaments in the Gate Cinema and we had a German team was well as Scotland’s 1956 Olympic Champion. He boxed my good friend Christy Devlin who did very well and put up a good show.

In the winter time it was somewhere to go. My best friend from Slane, his name was Harry Smith, he used to run from Slane to the club for training and run back home.

He is the kind of person you need in the club. There used to be great battles between the two top clubs, The Tredagh and Drogheda clubs, when the Leinster Juvenile Championship would be held.



Whoever got the most champions would win the Purdon Cup. Sometimes the Tredagh would win the cup, the next year the Drogheda club would win it.

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