IN the end the hurlers just about shaded it, but the result that really mattered was that last Saturday's Kerry GAA fundraiser – The Kingdom Knockout – was a knockout success.
At least 400 paying fans turned up in the INEC to witness present and past football and hurling stars, along with special guests, go toe-to-toe to raise funds to train various intercounty football and hurling teams.
Organised by WhiteCollarBoxing.ie on behalf of the Kerry County Board, the pugilists prepared for the event over the last number of weeks in Fitzgerald Stadium and Ballyduff Boxing Club.
Special guests on the night included the Kerry football squad and management, colleagues friends and families of the hurlers and WBF Light Middleweight title holder Henry ' the Western Warrior' Coyle, whose girlfriend Linda is from Kenmare.
While it's probably fair to say that very few of the protagonists will ever carve out careers for themselves in the ring, one could not be but impressed by the skills displayed by the Boyle brothers from Ballyduff who backboned the Kerry hurlers team. Pádraig ' The Body-Snatcher' disposed of Knocknagoshel's James ' Too Quick' Walsh; Mikey ' The Mauler' acquitted himself admirably against both Knocknagoshel Boxing Club's William Byrne and WhiteCollarBoxing.com's Richie ' The Liberator' O'Connell, while Liam 'Buster' comfortably dealt with an enthusiastic performance from Seamus ' The Pony Express' Moynihan.
The most entertaining spectacle was the rumble ( pictured above) between the big men – Killarney Town Councillor and Kerry football team attendant Niall ' Botty the Bonecrusher' O'Callaghan and Rathmore referee and garda, 'Electric' Eddie Walsh, who represented the hurlers on the night. Both men fought to a standstill and the draw decision seemed a fair call.
One of the livelier contests featured Laune Rangers and Kerry star Peter ' The Lone Ranger' Crowley and Kerry and Ardfert hurler Darren ' The Muffin' Wallace. Both men went at it hammer and tongs and in the end a split decision went in favour of the footballer.
Austin Stack's Shane ' The Rock' Carroll, who as a member of the IT Tralee team that lost heavily to Kerry in the McGrath Cup earlier in the day, went into the ring against Killarney garda 'Ferocious' Francis O'Riordan, determined not to ship a second heavy beating of the day. Carroll used his height and reach advantage to good effect, taking a majority decision.
St Michael's/Foilmore's 'Merciless' Mark Griffin then fought an exhibition against WhiteCollarBoxing.com's Richie O'Connell before the final bout of the night which saw Kerry and Tarbert footballer Shane ' The Scrapper' Enright and Kerry and Ballyheigue hurler Jason 'Big Bang' Casey slug it out in an exciting contest.
Casey took a majority decision for the victorious hurlers who triumphed over their footballing counterparts by three contests to two on the night, with one draw.