Footballers dig deep for charity

CORK senior football captain Graham Canty last night described the squad’s recent boxing training as ‘a great experience’, as around 600 people gathered in the Rochestown Park Hotel to watch 20 members of the Cork panel fight in aid of the Cobh-based suicide awareness charity ‘Breaking The Silence’.

The Cork players took part in fights of three one-minute rounds with eight fights involving Cork players in combat again each other. Four players – defenders Noel O’Leary and Michael Shields, midfielder Nicholas Murphy and attacker Pearse O’Neill – fought against members of CIT and Rylane Boxing Clubs.

“Overall it’s been a great experience for us,” remarked Canty. “There’s a huge crowd here to support it and business people have supported us as well. There’s not too much cash around at the moment but we’ve still received great support. So many people have wanted to get behind us and this great charity in Breaking The Silence. As much as we’ve enjoyed it, what’s really important is that we’ve raised a lot of money for them.

“The last few months have been superb for us. It was something completely different to what we’ve done before. Dan Lane and everyone in Rylane have been outstanding to us. We couldn’t believe the amount of time they gave to us. It’s different to looking at a pair of GAA posts, we get there and train for an hour and a half, and it’s a real good physical workout. There was a great buzz amongst our squad doing it.”

In addition to the Cork footballers fights, there was also an exhibition fight between former Irish amateur champion Seanie Barrett of Rylane and Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce.

An auction was also held midway through the fights with the sporting memorabilia on offer including a signed photograph of boxer Bernard Dunne and his boxing gloves, and a Manchester City jersey signed by Stephen Ireland. John Lawlor of the Breaking The Silence charity revealed that they were honoured to be the involved in the event. “We’re very honoured to be involved in something like this. The players wanted to do a benefit night for charity and what resonated with them was doing something for suicide. We came into the picture from there and things took off. It’s a very unique event that the Cork football squad have come together and are having a boxing exhibition. That’s obviously created huge interest.

“This didn’t just evolve as a PR exercise. There was something real and concrete to it when all of the squad came together recently to receive training on suicide alertness.

“The feedback from that was extremely positive from the players as they said they learned a lot from the model that we have in place. It’s very special and won’t be repeated again. The money that we’ve raised is very important as it helps us to keep operating.”

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