Saturday 17 March 2018

Heroe's welcome for boxer Tina

Big Hugs: European Bronze medal holder, Christina is congratulated by her twin brother Michael, who is also an Irish Champion boxer. (Picture: John Delea).
Big Hugs: European Bronze medal holder, Christina is congratulated by her twin brother Michael, who is also an Irish Champion boxer. (Picture: John Delea).


Christy Moore could write a song about it.

Having enjoyed a concert with the singing legend in the Abbey Hotel in Baile Bhuirne last Sunday night, people turned out in force again on Monday to welcome home European boxing bronze medallist Christina Desmond.

The Macroom Club boxer won the bronze medal in the 69kg Youth section of the European Union Women's Boxing Championships in Hungary last week.

Ireland's 26-woman boxing team, which also included world number one Katie Taylor, arrived back in Dublin airport on Sunday night with a record hoard of 15 medals - five gold, three silver and seven bronze.

A vote of congratulations to the 17-year-old boxer from Cuil a'Bhuachaigh, proposed and seconded by Macroom area councillors Aindrias Moynihan and Martin Coughlan, was passed at Monday's meeting of Cork County Council.

There were joyous scenes as supporters, friends and family, including Christina's proud parents, Helen and Criostoir, gathered at the east end of Macroom on Monday night.

Christina was paraded at the head of a motorcade through the town to the Macroom Boxing Club gym in Masseytown.

The new Town Mayor, Ted Lucey, was there to officially welcome Christina home, as well as Macroom club trainers John Casey and John Power. Mr Lucey promised the teenage star a civic reception as soon as it can be arranged.

The cavalcade then proceeded west to her native Gaeltacht home place, where a huge welcome home banner was stretched high across the N22 at the Mons Halfway House.

The sunny weather in the late evening complimented the jubilant mood, with a brief pit-stop outside the pub before the last leg into Cill na Martra village.

A carnival atmosphere had built up in the village, where a huge crowd awaited Christina in front of an open-air stage erected by Cill na Martra GAA club.

Cumann Peile Chill na Martra chairman, Gearoid Ó hÉalaithe, introduced Tina to an ecstatic crowd of supporters, young and old.

The Scoil Lachtain Naofa national school principal had warm words of congratulations for his former pupil.

Desmond family members joined Christina on stage, including her sisters Louise and Rachel, as well as her twin brother Michael and her father Criostoir who both accompanied her in Hungary.

Macroom Boxing Club coach, John Casey, told the crowd the challenge now was to turn the colour of the medal to silver or gold at the World Youth Boxing Championships in Russia next September.

The coach reminded Christina, as if she needed encouragement, that training with the Irish women's boxing team resumes in Dublin this Saturday. Bring it on.

Christy Moore might sing: "Casey, Casey you're the devil ..."