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Determination and dedication helps Leah secure another boxing title

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Boxing was the word on the tip of everyone's tongues over the weekend, particularly women’s boxing and the undisputed world lightweight championship Katie Taylor’s fight with Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden in New York.

FAMILY: Victorious All-Ireland Girl3 66kg boxing champion Leah Sheehan pictured at her home with her stepdad Mike mom Teresa and little brother Nathan. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

Leah Sheehan pictured with her family on a canvas which met me at the front door.

It was another fantastic achievement in her monumental career. 10 rounds of courage, determination, skill and stamina, not to mention the massive role model she is to young Irish boxers oozing positivity and gratitude throughout. I had also been carefully watching online updates of Mike and Teresa’s Leah who has always been a ‘knockout’ behind my lens since the first day I met her. I was delighted to see their family portrait hanging when I arrived.

Killarney Community College student Leah Sheehan, a member of Johnny and Jennifer Coffey’s Sliabh Luachra Boxing Club, enjoyed a similar boxing victory taking home gold as the newly crowned ‘All-Ireland Girl3 66kg Champion’ at the National Stadium in Dublin last Friday having defeated Leah Moore, Ballybough, Dublin. The boxing club brought home three gold medals in 2021, and Leah increased this to four in 2022. Gold medalists from Sliabh Luachra Boxing Club were also Mary McDonagh, Michelle McDonagh, Jamesie Casey and a silver medal went to Sean O’Riordan.

“If you want something bad you have to work hard for it," Leah said. "I train six days a week and followed a strictly balanced protein diet to build and maintain as I trained. Katie Taylor has done so much for women’s boxing. She is a huge role model and boxing wouldn’t be where it is today without her. She is a massive role model. She inspires me.”

Leah and I chatted a little about Katie and recalled how Katie once fought disguised as a boy just so she could compete. Mum Teresa arrived with a cupán tae.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mother," Leah continued. "Everyday she prepared different variations of turkey, chicken, rice and veg, together with two litres of water per day to help me with the cleanest diet to improve my performance.”

Teresa smiled.

“Marie, it was the hardest thing to enjoy an Easter Egg or any treat for that matter in the build up to Leah’s fight but she was determined and didn’t complain once,” Teresa replied. “Training first Marie. It’s what I want so it’s what I had to do to achieve my goals,” Leah explained.

DEDICATION

At 14 only just, I admired Leah’s determination and dedication and I could see from the way she spoke that she was truly passionate about boxing.

“Leah, what was the food you most craved while you trained?" I had to ask. “Pizza! I couldn’t wait for a slice of pizza so we went out and ordered one to take away. Having craved it for so long, you can imagine my face when it was accidentally dropped on the floor and another one was put on immediately. Every minute I waited I felt it Marie,” Leah laughed.

“At my level of boxing my fight was just three rounds, each round for one and a half minutes and it went for three full rounds. My weight is 66kg but I want to move down to 63kg to gain more experience of competitions. I know my fantastic coaches Johnny Coffey, Jake Kelly and Mikey Broderick will help me with that when I return next week and it’s onwards from there hopefully. I really want to succeed. I was also lucky enough to do some strength and conditioning with pro boxer Kevin Cronin in the month leading up to my fight. I really enjoyed that also. Marie can I please say thank you to Davy and Catrina Corkery who are great as our main sponsor, Kingdom Truck & Trailer?"

Mike, Leah’s stepdad, told me about the next steps for Leah. I was distracted a little as she beamed and hung on every word Mike said about her future in boxing. Leah wanted this so bad, this was very clear.

“Next up in June is the National Cadets Competition. If Leah succeeds, she will become part an elite high performance training which in turn will lead to boxing for the Irish team and the possibility of being selected to go to Turkey to represent Ireland in the European Championship,” Mike explained.

Teresa added, “Marie, no one should be thanked more than Mike for the guidance and support he has given Leah on this journey."

Leah continued “He’s travelled the length and breath of the country for me and it’s definitely brought us closer than we ever were before.”

“Leah, how do you feel when you realised that you’d won? What did you do?” I asked. “The first thing I did was phone my Grandad Liam O’Connell. I loved his words Marie. He said "Leah you are my hero. I am very proud of you and I love you so much"," Leah replied.

Congratulations and the very best of luck in June Leah Sheehan, the brand new All-Ireland Girl3 66kg champion! It was my pleasure to snap this ‘knockout’ yet again!

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Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

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St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

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Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

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A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

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