Anyone lucky enough to have a ticket for last evening’s Vegas White Collar Boxing Event, enjoyed one of the best nights of entertainment Swinford has experienced in recent times. The capacity crowd which had began to gather from around 8pm, could hardly have expected the scenes normally akin to to big match days in Croke Park. The scramble for tickets had begun earlier in the day, and large crowds queued outside the Conway Gym & Fitness Centre in the hope of securing a ticket. Anyone who did manage to get one, was not disappointed!

One could feel the anticipation outside, and goosebumps were the order of the day as a result of the electricity from inside the arena. The event lighting and the Rocky soundtrack only added to what was already a fantastic atmosphere. Conversations were dominated by what might be for the brave 18 souls about to enter into battle, with predictions and pre fight analysis Sky Sports style. Some had gone to a great deal of effort with banners lining the walls and specially drafted songs and chants. The atmosphere continued to build to boiling point until at exactly 10pm, those famous words rang out accross the arena “Let’s get ready to Rumble…” and the Ring lit up in fantastic white light.

You could hardly hear yourself think, as from out of the smoke and to the sound of “Waiting all Night” By Rudimental, emerged Liam “The Killasser Kick Ass” McSharry, followed shortly to the sound of “Million Voices” From Otto Knows, by “Dynamite” Derek Ryan. The crowd erupted as the announcer welcomed both fighters to the ring, and after some words of wisdom from referee Pat “The Enforcer” Kirby, the action was underway. In a youth versus experience match up Ryan came on strong pushing forward at every opportunity. McSharry had the legs to stay out of trouble though, and this battle became a game of cat and mouse right to the finishing bell. A cracking opener to the night!

Next into battle to the sounds of “I Love It” By Icona Pop, was the “Connemara Warrior” Ellen McDonagh and her opponent “The Royal Bombshell” Karen Murphy, who entered with “Wake me up” By Avicii enetrtaining the crowd. Both ladies obviously enjoyed the walk to the ring and both knew how to work the crowd. The action was just as good with both displaying the skills they had mastered. Credit to both ladies as injury to McDonagh has forced her out of training for periods during the build up, and to Murphy for taking the contest at short notice. A very tidy contest which would have graced any ring.

The crowd were in a frenzy by the time Martin “The Mutt Man” Maloney appeared from the fog to Pantera’s “here you come from”. A man familiar with the limelight Maloney knew how to work the crowd as did his opponent Barry Durkin, who had possible the largest contingent of suppoprt on the night, with chants of “Goose” ringing out as he made his way to the ring. Unfortunately this one as short lived as Durkin sustained a cut in round two which forced an early end. It was dissapointing considering round one had the attributes of an amateur contest one might see on the regular circuit, and something tells me we may not have seen the last of these two men in the ring.

Contest four saw the meeting of Emma “The Wicked Witch of the West” Moran with “Can’t Touch Me” by MC Hammer as her entrance song, and Karen “The Assassin” Geraghty, with Guns and Roses welcoming everyone to the jungle. A quiet entrance from both ladies was a good indicator that both meant business, and they didn’t dissapoint. From the opening bell, this one was all action! Neither lady was willing to give way and when two fighters take that attitude you’re gonna have a battle in the middle of the ring. In one of the heavy hitting bouts of the night, both ladies showed that their right hands as well as their chins, were up to the job!

If the previous was heavy hitting then the next was heavier, with “C Low” Clio Hoare and Paul “The Living Legend” Lavin doing battle. Early in round one Hoare landed a haymaker from which Lavin showed great heart to recover, but recover he did to land a couple of big ones of his own. Hoare was elusive with footwork which could see him signed up for riverdance in the coming weeks. At times Lavin was struggling to pin him down, but when he did both traded heavy shots to the body and to the head. This was one contest which left the crowd talking afterwards, and another where we might just see these men in the ring again in the not too distant future.

In perhaps the most techical contest of the evening Nadine “The Pocket Rocket” O’Hara with her theme tune “Shipping off to Boston” by Drop Kick Murphy’s met Cathy “Twinkle Toes” Geraghty. Both ladies seemed to enjoy their entrances, with plenty of fist pumping and high fives along the way. They say if you’re going to make a big entrance then you need to back it up, well back it up they did. Many of those involved in amateur boxing who attended on the night said that quite honestly this contest could have been put on any tournament in the county this year. Two ladies with perhaps a future on the regular circuit if they can be convinced.

The next bout was one that the crowd had been waiting for. A battle royale between “Catch of the Day” Mick Salmon, who brought the house down with his “Always look on the Bright Side of Life”, by Monty Python entrance and Mick “The Masher” Moran. To say that they both milked their entrances would be an understatement, these two lads had come to put on a show, and that they did. Having never missed a training session both men were in good shape and well able for a steady pace throughout. Moran starting well landing lefts and rights and Salmon finishing each round landing god shots. Two men never anything but entertaining, served up one of the night’s most entertaining bouts.

In one of the most anticipated clashes of the night Swinford and Dublin’s Linda “The Lucan Lunatic” Hannon and Meelick and Kildare’s Karen “The Lillywhite Warrior” Clynch, went head to head. Trash talking before the match up changed to challenging gestures inside the ring. The two ladies brought large contingents of support with many fans making the journey from Lucan and Kilcock as well as Limerick and Cork, and these two ladies didn’t disappoint. Non stop action from beginning to end. No one willing to give and inch and some of the heaviest punching of the evening. Both ladies can be proud of what they achieved through the process as well as in training, and are living proof that everthing is achievable with a bit of heart.

In the final bout of the evening two Swinford BC legends made their long awaited comebacks. Former Golden Gloves Champion “El Diablo” Antonio Diaz met former Irish Champion Darragh “Spudz” Campbell in a unification battle. Once again these two whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and in one of the finest atmospheres ever experienced in Swinford boxing history served up a bout which would grace any stage. “They never lost it” commented one spectator as both landed big right hands. No place for glass chins here, as both these men had lead in their gloves. A great way to finish the night, and proof if it was needed that if either wished to make a full comeback to the sport, they would be more than able.

As a grand finale, each and every competitor made their way through the crowd and back to the ring where Pat Kirby on behalf of the organisers had this to say. “We are extremely proud of and grateful to, every one of these people, they have given of their time and effort to do something brave and praiseworthy for the young people of our community”. “In the process everyone has benefited – some have gotten fit, some have lost weight and everyone has gotten healthier, but what we have all have gotten in the process, is new friends and we’ve had a great time doing it”

Indeed not one of these eighteen warriors had to do this, but when it came down to it, they felt it important that the young boxers of Swinford had the facilities they deserve, and for that the club will always be grateful. We know too well the courage it takes to enter the four cornered ring, and this crew have courage on tap!

Thanks to all who took part – Liam McSharry, Derek Ryan, Ellen McDonagh, Karen Murphy, Martin Maloney, Barry Durkan, Emma Moran, Karen Geraghty, Clio Hoare, Paul Lavin, Nadine O’Hara, Cathy Geraghty, Michael Salmon, Michael Moran, Linda Hannon, Karen Clynch, Antonio Diaz, Darragh Campbell, Jade O Hara and Mick McSharry… it was a blast!

Thanks to all who helped out on the night, the reliable few as always, you will see the rewards again.

Thanks to all our sponsors, there were many and everyone will be seeing their names on our website and facebook for the coming months. Remember there is no obligation on these people to hand over their money, and yet they do in support of our cause, so support them where you can.

Thanks to everyone who bought a line or lines in support of the boxers. Every penny you donated will be spent for the good of our kids in Swinford Boxing Club. We know that the club exists through the goodwill of our community, so we appreciate your support.

Finally thanks to the massive crowd who attended and supported so enthusiastically. Along with your boxers you made the night one to remember for many years to come…