Belfast Telegraph

Boxer Dan Donnelly's amputated arm a knockout at exhibition

By Barry Duggan

The amputated right arm of one of the country's most famed prize fighters is the main attraction at a boxing exhibition.

The University of Limerick's Sports Arena is proving to be the perfect venue for the 'Fighting Irishmen' display, which includes the personal effects of Barry McGuigan, Jack Dempsey and John Duddy, among others.

As part of Limerick's year as 'European City of Sport', the Irish Arts Centre in New York collaborated with Shannon Development and UL to secure the rare exhibition of Irish boxing memorabilia.

The centrepiece is the mummified arm of celebrated prize fighter Dan Donnelly from Dublin.

A bare-knuckle fighter, Donnelly became one the country's most celebrated sportsmen when he defeated English prize fighter George Cooper after 11 rounds in Kildare in 1815.

He died in 1820 at the age of 32 and his corpse was stolen days after his funeral by grave robbers.

The remains were traced to the home of a Dublin surgeon who agreed to return them -- on condition he could amputate and keep Donnelly's right arm, which had claimed so many victories.

Also among the fascinating collection is Barry McGuigan's fight kit, which he wore on the famous summer night in 1985 when he defeated Eusebio Pedroza to capture the WBA world featherweight title at Loftus Road in London.

'Young Barry McGuigan, The Cyclone' is embroidered on the robe, and his trunks, boots and gloves are also there.

A rare photograph of Muhammed Ali -- equipped with a hurley -- before his 1972 fight with Al 'Blue' Lewis in Croke Park is nearby.

The array of robes, gloves, boxing bags, prints, photographs, paintings and film footage of Irish prize-fighters and boxers from 1820 to the present will remain on view until the end of the year.

Belfast Telegraph


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