TWO Kilkenny GAA clubs are shaping up for a big match with a difference.
The hurley sticks will be cast aside. Instead they will settle their differences through punching power and by going head-to-head in a boxing ring.
Representatives from both clubs are in serious training, and they will don the leathers and step into the ring in Kilmacow Community Hall on Saturday, March 10.
Dubbed the ‘Brawl in the Hall’, the hope is that the novel match up will be a real knock-out for the two clubs involved.
“We were looking for something different as a fund-raiser, and this is it,” explained James O’Neill, PRO of Kilmacow hurling and football club, one of the outfits involved.
Kilmacow’s finest will be taking on the brave hearts from neighbouring Mullinavat parish, who will have former Kilkenny and current Kerry hurler, Willie O’Dwyer, among their champions.
A ‘Border War’
It is hoped that 12 hurlers/boxers from each club will be ready for action. The clubs have splashed out in the region of 7,000 euro on the promotion, but they hope to make several multiples of that figure by staging what some are calling a ‘Border War’.
The players have been training with experts in the field of boxing for nearly five weeks. They have completed a programme of fitness and core training at the twice weekly sessions, and they were also been put through rigorous technical coaching.
“It has all been done is a very professional and structured manner,” Mr O’Neill assured.
The training has been in Paulstown boxing club under the watchful eye of Adrian O’Neill, brother of national champion and European medallist, Darren O’Neill.
Match-ups have been agreed, and some of the protagonists have already sparred against each other. According to one informed source, the action got “a little hot” in a few bouts recently, but no one has thrown in the towel yet.
The idea for the promotion followed a conversation between friends Paddy O’Keeffe from Kilmacow and Willie O’Dwyer.
Both clubs jumped at the idea for a fund-raiser. They then contacted and employed the services of Whitecollar Boxing Promotions, who specialise in these types of events.
Whitecollar provided the coaching for the players. They will also erect the boxing ring and provide judges, referees, the compere, DJ and lighting on the night.
“It will be a professionally run event,” Mr O’Neill said.
Nothing has been left to chance. Models have been lined-up to parade around the ring marking rounds 1, 2 and 3.
The boxers have each been assigned a manager, who will act as their ‘corner man’ for night, and they will enter the ring to a blaring tune that reflects their fighting character.
In the region of 800 tickets (20 euro each) have gone on sale, and each of the boxers will be sponsored by local businesses.
“The main thrust of the night is entertainment, and to make a bit of money for the two clubs. The response so far has been terrific,” Mr O’Neill insisted.
At the time of going to press it couldn’t be confirmed whether or not boxing promoters, Don King or Barry Hearn would be present to run the rule over possible likely future champions.
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