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.
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
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.
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.
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 .
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
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.
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
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 Henry’s 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 Henry’s face. The
Referee stopped the fight to spare Henry further discomfort.
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.
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.
was on the Late Late Show with Gay Burne where he lifted a 22 gallon beer keg.
He was billed as Ireland’s
strongest man. I got a phone call
from a man earlier this year inviting me to the next Ireland’s Strongest Man Competition which would take pace in Clonmel.
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
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 .
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.
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
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.
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