Blood brothers ready to do battle

In what’s being billed as a Cain and Abel-style clash of the titans, two Cork brothers go head-to-head in the boxing ring before nearly 1,000 spectators.

Ballincollig barman Stephen Kearney, 25, squares off against his delivery man brother Darren, 36, next weekend in what’s widely expected to be one of the most colourful fights in a white collar boxing fundraising spectacular.

The brothers belong to a group of 30 wannabe boxers who have been training for the past six weeks for the long-awaited Tussle in the Tent on Saturday next in a specially erected 5,000 sq ft marquee on the grounds of Ballincollig Rugby Club.

The fighters are hoping to raise around €10,000 for Ballincollig Rugby Club and the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. They have been preparing in a temporary boxing ring in a premises near the town.

In all, 22 men and eight women, none of whom have boxed before, have been training for the event — they include some rugby players, a few bank managers, a fireman, and sprinkling of insurance workers and sales reps.

“We have people from all backgrounds, none of them have ever boxed before,” said club vice-president Harry Walsh.

A delivery man for O’Keeffe’s Bakery in Ballincollig, Darren has been training hard for the three 90-second rounds with his younger brother Stephen, a barman at the town’s Sam’s Bar. “I’ve been doing the six weeks training which is twice a week with White Collar Boxing.

“I’m also jogging and cycling to increase my general fitness,” he said. “My fitness has improved enormously in the last six weeks. I cycled from Ballincollig to Macroom and back — a 65km cycle I wouldn’t have been able to do before.”

In addition, he’s learning how to stand, throw punches and defend himself against his younger brother.

“I’m a bit nervous ! Stephen’s a worthy opponent,” he said.

* Tickets are on sale in outlets in Ballincollig and the Guide Dogs Headquarters. For more see www.guidedogs.ie/ ballincolligrfc.ie or call 1850506300.


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