One of the great nights in Irish sport was recalled during the past week on the visit of boxer Steve Collins to Millstreet.
His victory over Chris Eubank to win the WBO super middleweight title during 1995 climaxed a memorable billing as Millstreet became the boxing capital of the world. Of course, this was no great surprise for Millstreet as the town had hosted The Eurovision Song Contest two years previously.
On a March night, Collins arrived in the ring accompanied by the Rocky theme tune, while Eubank’s long entrance was sound-tracked by his signature tune of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’. Collins sat on a stool and listened to his headphones during Eubank’s protracted entrance.
“I was so focused on what I had to do, some of the excitement prior to the event passed by me. However, I’ve memories of facing Eubank at the weigh-in and psyching him out!,” Collins revealed.
Then, on a visit to Millstreet Museum, Curator Seán Radley described the Collins fight as one of the milestones for Millstreet.
“We feel so honoured to have Steve in Millstreet to recall his great triumphs and return for the official switch on of the 2021 Christmas lights”, he said.
The Dublin native became the first fighter to beat Eubank and the atmosphere and performance from Collins became one of the biggest nights in the history of Irish boxing and sport with 8,000 spectators fueling a tremendous atmosphere.
“I remember entering the ring first as the contender, absorbing it all, a feeling of being in a sauna, the massive crowd, the positive vibes, I just knew history was in the making. Dwelling back, I couldn’t had got a better venue and more than 25 years later I’ve returned.
“Listening to fans down through the years, there must have been 25,000 people at the fight, maybe some not even born,” quipped Collins.
“At the time, I couldn’t sell out in Dublin, I fought twice in the Green Glens and also at Pairc Uí Chaoimh. They could have sold out twice over, for some reason, there was a terrific response to Millstreet and Cork, being a Collins, there has to be a connection with Cork,” he said.
Collins’ victory placed him in sporting folklore and, though now based in the UK, a weekend trip to Cork generated a positive reaction in pandemic times. As part of the Millstreet itinerary, Collins headed up a vintage car parade to Millstreet museum, onto the Green Glens Arena before Millstreet Pipe Band led a parade for the official turn on of Millstreet Christmas lights 2021.