Keep pubs closed, says star as bars turn family away
OLYMPIC medalist John Joe Nevin has requested all the bars in his hometown of Mullingar to stay shut during his homecoming parade on Monday after a number of pubs failed to open or serve his relatives during his fight yesterday.
Nevin became aware of the incident before getting into the ring to box for a silver medal yesterday and was said by family members to have been hurt by the turn of events.
Family members claimed they were refused alcohol in a number of bars in the Midlands town and several other pubs stayed shut during the fight.
The Nevin family had been drinking in another bar in town but left after an incident in which a member of staff was assaulted. Gardai were called to the scene.
The family then travelled to the Covert pub about four miles outside the town where they witnessed John Joe secure at least a silver Olympic medal.
John Joe's mum Winnie said the boxer had been upset at the treatment of his family and was now calling on all bars in Mullingar to stay shut during his homecoming parade.
"He doesn't want the pubs to be using him to get the crowds in after what happened. He's appealing to them all to stay shut for the duration of the parade and they can do what they want after that," she said.
"He's very disappointed. He heard about what was happening and he rang us about it. I had to tell him. He was about to go into the ring and he shouldn't have been dealing with that," added his mum.
Despite the incident marring the celebrations of John Joe's victory, his family and the locals of Mullingar were over the moon at the win.
Hundreds turned out to support their home-town boy in the main square of Mullingar, Co Westmeath, where they watched him on a big screen. Bunting covering the entire town and posters supporting John Joe were on every corner.
Winifred said John Joe would still take part in a homecoming parade in his honour on Monday.
"We are not going to turn our back on the parade for John Joe. What John Joe is doing is for the fans of Mullingar, not the pubs," she said.
"We were over in London and we were treated unbelievably. We only came home on Thursday," she said.
Winifred added that she will be glued to John Joe's bout for gold and even more glory this evening despite finding it hard to watch her son fight.
"I'm just so proud of John Joe but I can't watch. I cover my head with a hat for the whole time and I just pray for him," he said.
Among the thousands that gathered in the main square to watch the fight were John Joe's cousin Hughie Moyers (19).
Hughie, also a boxer, said he now hopes to follow in his cousin's footsteps.
"I want to be there in 2016. I feel awful proud of John Joe and I believe he can take the gold," he added.
His aunt Bridgit Moyers said: "The bronze was as good as a gold for me but this is fantastic.
"I'm very, very proud of him. I was over in London for his first fight and it was just amazing to see the support he got.
"The crowds here today are great to see. It really means something," she said.
Local woman Margaret Devine said she was delighted to join the crowds and cheer on John Joe.
"Anyone who plays sport and can do it to that level is an ambassador for us. We're all very proud of John Joe," she added.