Rylane Boxing Club

Rylane Boxing Club was founded by Dan Lane and the late Mick Cronin about 27 years ago.  Initially it went through some bad times but in later years it came on in leaps and bounds.  Two years ago Rylane Club organised a show in the Green Glens Arena together with Tottenham London Boxing Club.


 Dan Lane got boxers from all over Ireland including Sunnyside Boxing Club in Cork and a special guest Francie Barrette from Galway, the traveller who carried the flag for Ireland in the Olympics.  There has been a film made about him and he appeared on the Late Late Show with Gay Burne.  He did a great interview.  Dan put it to him to come to Rylane with the Tottenham Club.   He is a very quiet speaking chap.  On speaking to him in the past he never once swore.  He boxed Declan Barrette of Rylane club who was no relation to himself and Francie won on the night.  It was good match which Cork Multi Channel T.V televised and the show was a great success. A year later the Club took on an International match, Wales -v- Ireland


It was a big undertaking and a lot of organisation went into it.  However it ended up being a great success and put Rylane Boxing on the map.   Shaunie Barrette of Millstreet who is no relation to Francie boxed Francie at the National Stadium for the All Ireland.  Shaunie won and it got coverage from all over the world.  He also won another All Ireland the following year. By now Rylane was the most successful club in Cork, and things were going to get even better for the club as the following year Dan Lane in conjunction with the Irish Amateur Boxing Assocation organised a four Nations tournament.   It was the very first of its kind in Ireland and was staged at the Glen Eagles Hotel and hosted by Rylane.  At this stage Rylane was the club that was the most talked about, particularly of the people who loved boxing as it had been televised and subsequently seen in England and Ireland. It would be hard to top that and I am sure that you will hear more about Rylane Boxing club in the future. 


I first took an interest in boxing in Collins Barracks in 1960.  I was 15 years of age and joined the boxing club which was run by a Sergeant and Physical Training Instructor. One year later I was in London and I joined a boxing club called Middle Row.  I had 5 novice competitions and I won three of them.  Later I boxed semi professionally. 


 In the fun fairs at 18 I had a baby face and looked innocent so it suited the show.  I would be a member of the audience and when the Booths Manager would ask for ‘Challengers’ I would put up my hand and there would be a big ugly and fearsome character on the stand.  The punters would pay half a crown to go into the tent to watch the fight, but to us on show it was fun and easy money .


I would put on a good show and get knocked out unfairly.  At the end the Booths Manager would pay me a pound and I would go around the audience with a towel.  I would then have the sympathy of the audience.  Me and my old pal would then go to the dressing room at the back of the tent and we would share the money.  It was around then I was introduced to Butty sugro from Kerry an ex Duffies Circus Strongman  In 1959 Butty pulled a fully loaded double-decker bus with his teeth in O’Connell Street, Dublin.  This feat of strength was publicised widely.  Butty was known for assisting Mike Meaney of Ballyporeen for breaking the World Record in London in 1966.  This was for burying alive Mike Meaney   Mike broke the World Record for the longest stay underground, I was there that day and  Diana Doors was there to greet him.  Butty was good for things like that .


 Jack Doyle was a regular visitor to Butty’s Pubs and Clubs and he would sing a song called Down Mexico Way. In 1963 Muhammad Ali came to London to Box Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium.  He was 20 years of age then and a lot of people thought that he wouldn’t be able for a second round with Henry.  The night of the fight I was living in one room of a basement flat in Westbourne Park, London W10 and all I had was an old black and white TV with a bad picture to watch. 


 Cassius Clay came out for the first round.  He danced around the ring, the fans booing him, and in the sixth round he started to stick his chin out for Henry to hit him, but just at the end of the sixth round Henry threw a left hook.  Cassius was on the canvas, he fell into the middle rope, bounced off it and on to the canvas.  The bell went for the end of the round and both men went back to their corners.  At the end of the 60 seconds Cassius was still very groggy


 Angela Dundee was desperate in Cassius’ corner, some say he slit Cassius’ glove with a razor blade.  He came out for the 7th round and horse hair was falling out of Cassius’ glove.  The Referee sent him back to the corner where it took 2 minutes to change the gloves which gave Cassius time to recover.  The bell went for the 7th again and Cassius came out punching and dancing. Henry couldn’t get close at the end of the round and a big cut opened up over Henrys eye.  In Henry’s corner they were desperately trying to stop the bleeding.  They came out again for the 7th and Cassius was clinical with his finish.  He threw straight lefts like javelins and the blood continued running  down Henrys face.  The Referee stopped the fight to spare Henry further discomfort.


The next morning the papers were full of how Henry was robbed.  Butty likes winners so the next evening in the pub in The Nelson in Queen’s Park, Dave Parkinson from Derry and I were weight training upstairs in the Nelson in a makeshift gymnasium.  When Butty came in with Cassius he introduced Cassius to me and Dave.  He was different from the public Cassius and was interested in what we were doing.  He joined us and worked with us for at least an hour.  We were about 18 years old and he was about 20.  Dave then went on to tour around Ireland with Duffies Circus.


In the late seventies he was an Orange Man and an X B Special.  He did not get on too well with the Specials but it did not matter in the early sixties I did not know what it meant then but in 1970 I would have.


 Dave was on the Late Late Show with Gay Burne where he lifted a 22 gallon beer keg.  He was billed as Irelands strongest man.  I got a phone call from a man earlier this year inviting me to the next Irelands Strongest Man Competition which would take pace in Clonmel.


The first of them was held and was fought and won by Andrew Sheehan from Knocknagree from County Cork.  I invited Andrew to Ballydehob for the unveiling of a Bronze Statue in honour of the great Wrestler Dan O’Mahoney, known to all as Dan O.  I was invited to take up a challenge for the 

Guinness Book of World Records for the most lifts of two half hundred weights whilst lying  on the back.  In Rylane I performed 35 of these and is now officially recognised by Guinness World Records of London.  I broke the first record of 27 in 1999 in Killbenehy in Co. Limerick.  The day in Ballydehob went well and I was presented with the Dan O’Mahoney Memorial Cup.  This had been sponsored by the Bridge Bar in Macroom .


Going back to London in 1973 I was working for Butty Sugro at the Duke of Wellington, Shepherds Bush.  In April 1972, Harold Conrad arrived in London from NewYork.  He was a promoter for Muhammad Ali and Butty had left a message at the Hotel that he was to phone him as soon as he arrived.  Butty told him that he wanted Ali to box in Ireland and that he would finance it.  Conrad got a taxi to the Wellington.  Butty was behind the bar and when Conrad came in Butty put his hand out as if to say I am sure we will have a deal.


 Conrad looked at Butty like some one would look at a tramp.  Butty could read the man and he asked how much it would take to put it on to bring the most famous man in the world to Ireland.  Conrad replied “$300,000,”  Butty replied “Is that all? Come with me“  whereupon we walked around the corner to William’s & Glenn’s Bank.  Butty went to a side door where the Manager was and he opened the door.  He introduced Conrad to the Manager and explained that he was a Boxing Promoter from America.  After a great deal of discussion about the promotion a sum of $300,000 was agreed on.  Conrad did not need persuading and it was then agreed on by shaking hands. 


Conrad arranged to have Muhammad Ali box Al Blue Lewis in Croke Park.  I went with Butty and the rest is I was saddened to here lately of the history where we also met Jack Lynch and had photos taken together. 

Death of Peter Crotty  Peter was knowing as the Colonmel  ironman he joined the clonmel Boxing club in 1947 he requested Ireland  the Olympic Games in Finland where he beat an American golden gloves champion The first please I saw Peter was in London in1961 I was about 17 years old at that time Peter was married to woman from Dongarvin co Waterford the Family name was Miland they were a ruftuf bunch one night I was in a pub called the duke of Cornwall and peter came in the man that was with me spayed  that's Peter Crotty he is a scrapper the man wit me his name was Martin Fergson alias the mule the fight broke out in the toilet and spilled out to the bar there was punches kicks chairs Ben thrown Blind bobby from Wexford was struck on the head by a stiletto shoe the fight spilled out onto ledbro rd   3 police vans full of police arrived it was a irate the man with me spayed com on and jumped into the middle of the fray he was on the floor amenably several were arrested including the mule. it was 10 years latter before I saw Peter again I wrote about it  on the Wrestling page about it                           

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