Boxing

In The Irish News - Jan 24 1998: Action plans afoot to save the Railway Cup

Joe McDonagh wanted to save the Railway Cup
Andy Watters

GAA president Joe McDonagh isn’t about to give up the fight to save the endangered Inter-Provincial series after this week’s news on setting up an action group to try and stop the rot.

The fight may already be lost if recent events in the ailing Railway Cup are taken at face value, or perhaps that should read “lack of face”.

Less than 100 attended one of the hurling semi-finals last year, an estimated 300 for the football. If another Railway Cup game were never to take place again, would any of the paying public care? It has near to no public appeal as it is.

There are repeated suggestions the players are interested in it, but why?

When was the last time there was a major attendance at one of the games, football or hurling? It has about as much spectator appeal as the meaningless

Oireacthas in hurling during the winter months. It is difficult to see how this decline can be arrested. A few leading officials have been appointed now to look into the matter, draw up an action plan, devise a formula to revitalise the event, for briefing of the 1999 Congress.

After years of neglect can the interpro tournament be saved? Is it worth saving? Doubtful on both counts. This week’s decision seems more than a mite overdue.

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LEGENDARY American trainer Emmanuel Steward is to meet with Irish boxing boss Brian Peters in London next week to discuss a permanent link-up with the Cathal O’Grady camp.

After studying O’Grady for 10 days in Berlin, Steward, of the world-famous Kronk club in hometown Detroit, said yesterday he wants to have a hand in shaping the future career plans of the 20- year-old Irish cruiserweight sensation.

The Wizard of Kronk, who was crowned Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers of America in midweek said: “I would be very interested in joining up with his manager Brian Peters and his coach. Cathal has world potential.”

O’Grady, with a full stoppage record under his belt since his pro debut in September, has just returned from a two-week sparring stint under Steward in Berlin.

He was drafted in by Steward to assist in whippping Germany’s Graciano Rocchigiani into tip-top condition for his WBC title shot against Michael Nunn (US) on February 7.

And last night Meath businessman Peters revealed that he was set to have face-to-face discussions with Steward on a proposed training link-up after O’Grady’s next fight on January 31.

Steward, trainer of over 20 world champions including Thomas Hearns and Evander Holyfield, will be flying in for the Pickett’s Lock fight next weekend. “We have talked about this hookup before and I’m delighted that a trainer of Steward’s calibre is interested in Cathal,” said Peters.

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BELFAST flyweight Damaen Kelly has been pencilled in to fight Bulgarian Hristo Lessov at the Elephant and Castle in London next month.

Panix promotions spokesman Ed Robinson said last night: “Our European agent has picked out Lessov for Damaen’s next fight. It will be a move up for Damaen over six rounds.”

Kelly claimed a notable boxing scalp when he clearly outpointed 35 fight Anthony Hanna (Birmingham) in his third straight pro win at the Maysfield leisure centre last month.

Cut injuries sustained then have healed cleanly and stressed the need for caution to the Kelly camp. Coach Michael Hawkins said: “We will be treating this very cautiously, Damaen will be taking his time, always wary of the head. He dominated the last fight~ and still came away with cuts.

“The six rounds should give him more time to settle, no urgency, just use his boxing skills to see him through.”

Manager Frank Maloney and coach Dean Powell have approved the fight which will figure on the undercard of the European cruiserweight clash between Terry Dunstan and Alexander Gurov on St Valentine’s day.

“Eamonn Magee also features on the card. He goes in against Dennis Griffin from Stepney,” said Robinson.

“Griffin has a 3-9 record but is a tough kid. It should be a good fight.”

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