Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kilcullen boxing glory days

Some 56 years ago, Kilcullen was basking in the glow of champion national and international performances by several of its local boxers, writes Brian Byrne.

Top of the list then was Kill native Colm McCoy, who had recently come back to his Kilcullen Club with a bonfires reception and a march through the town led by the Narraghmore Pipe Band for taking home a bronze medal from the European Championships in Lucerne. He was later to box in the Rome Olympics, where the eventual winner in his category was a relatively unknown named Cassius Clay.

Other very notable contenders then were Billy Schwer from Mile Mill, who had moved to England after a stellar Irish amateur boxing career, and was soon to be awarded a Boxer of the Year Cup in his adopted area of Bedfordshire. His son Billy went on to be Commonwealth and European lightweight and the IBO World Light Welter-weight title Champion.

And Seamus Aspell was also making a name for himself at Leinster Junior Championships level, as one of the 'brightest young junior stars' according to contemporary accounts.

Thanks to the scrapbooks of the time kept by the late Nicky Myers of Main Street, we can relive again those glory days in the Kilcullen Heritage Centre.