Swanky – Blindfold Boxing


Swanky – Blind Fold Boxing

Last night down in the Swanky Bar in Tarbert , there was a boxing ring set up and a group of steely individuals warmed up for what was to transpire over the next few hours.  Cashen Vale Boxing Club supplied the ring and officials to run the event.  We were introduced to a number of young Cashen Vale boxing talent that have won a number of International titles in various disciplines over the last few weeks.

The action started off with a very competitive bout between Danny Wren and Brendan Cregan where both men started out in round 1 and took time to find their feet but once both men found there range it was a very tough fight. At the end of Round 2 with the agreement of all involved it was decided to dispense with the headgear and blindfolds and go at each other. After an excellent third round the bout was awarded to Brendan Cregan.

The 2nd fight of the evening was Gerard Flavin taking on Paudie Mulvihill , rumour had it that Paudie had been in contact with the Mc Gregor camp in the days leading up to the fight but he met his match in Ger Flavin who has been training very well over the last few weeks both on the bar stool and in the Gym !!! Ger Flavin did very well and again took the victory in a close contest.

The 3rd fight of the night, paired Tony White and James Enright. This bout was again closely fought and once both men got to grips with the idea of not knowing where the punches may come from , they settled to the task at hand but the experienced older head that is Tony White found the punches easier to come by and won this contest with relative ease.

The 4th bout of the night saw the only all female contest between Sorcha and Evelyn Stack , yes the twin sisters decided the only way to settle all the little disagreements over the years was to get between the ropes and slog it over three one minute rounds. The sisters traded blows until the final bell of the third round was sounded and the decision went the way of Sorcha Stack.

Finally we came to the heavyweight contest of the evening between two men who know how to box !! James Wren stepped into the ring alongside Brendan Mc Ginley both men went after each other from the opening bell and like the opening contest of the evening , it was decided to dispense with the headgear and blindfolds and let these two battle it out to see who would come out on top.

There was a huge crowd assembled at this stage and both men were roared on by very vocal support. Both men slugged it out and threw some very strong punches, some may say they have done this before !!!  After three very physical rounds of boxing, the very close contest was marked down as a draw.

Last night was a great success and like the Summer Festival of last weekend , it just goes to show what a small bit of clever thinking and cooperation can do. Well done to all at Cashen Vale Boxing Club for all the equipment, boxing ring and expertise. To JP , Mary and all the staff in the Swanky well done. A special mention to MC Denis Flavin , DJ Shicco aka Padraig Sheehy for the use of his gear.

Here’s hoping that the events of the past two weekend’s can help create an appetite for more and more events to happen in Tarbert over the next few months. Well done to all involved and hopefully this event will return in 2018….


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland 2017 World Cup Squad

Ireland World Cup Squad

Tom Tierney this morning announced his squad that will play in the 2017 World Cup on home soil between August 9th and 26th in UCD in Dublin and the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Tierney has selected only one uncapped player in the shape of scrum half Nicole Cronin who has ample 7s experience and will get the opportunity to test herself against a number of top sides and players over the coming weeks.

Ireland will take on France, Australia and Japan in Pool C at this year’s renewal of the competition in which Ireland finished 4th at the World Cup in 2014 out in France.  Niamh Briggs will lead the charge from the front after recovering from an injury that has restricted her over the last 12 months. Her last appearance in Green came in November 2016 when she led out Ireland against New Zealand at the UCD Bowl.

Players like Jenny Murphy , Ruth O Reilly and Sophie Spence make a welcome return after injury ruled them out a various stages over the past few months. Tom Tierney has spent the past three years shaping this squad to take on the challenge of a home World Cup. The 2015 Six Nations win showed that the Grand Slam win of 2013 wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

Since the World Cup in 2014 the Women’s game has gone from strength to strength in Ireland with an ever improving league where all the home based players are in regular competition against each other.

The first XV probably picks itself for game 1, all the heavy hitters will be given the first bite of the cherry in the match against Australia. From there they will face two familiar foes in the shape of France and Japan who they recently faced in a warm up fixture in early May.

Having beaten France in the Six Nations earlier this year on home soil Ireland will know they will need to be 100% for each fixture because one lapse in concentration could cost them dearly. I am sure Tom Tierney and his coaching staff will drill that particular point into the players as the World Cup draws ever nearer.

Over the last season or so , Ireland have had to chop and change the starting XV to facilitate the ever expanding demand for players due to their commitments on the 7s circuit. The game of 7s has had a renascence in Ireland over the last few years in both the Women’s and Men’s codes. Both squads will participate in World Cup campaign’s next summer.

This particular experiment has benefitted both the 7s and 15s games in this country. Anthony Eddy who is the 7s director of Rugby at the IRFU and hewill be part of Tom Tierney’s coaching team and will be crucial over the next few weeks in helping to shape this squad into a team capable of going a step further than 2014 where they finished 4th behind France , Canada and Champions England.

England of course will feel there are best placed to defend the crown they won in the Stade Jean Bouin 3 years ago.  They have moved on from that triumph by handing out over 50 full time contracts in the aftermath of that win. It now seems that this will be the final few weeks of those players contracts as the RFU seems set to only hand out a smaller number of full time deals when the 2017 World Cup ends. The RFU is going to concentrate on qualifying for Tokyo 2020.

This competition is going to be a very interesting one where a number of the 12 sides will fancy their chances  at dethroning England. Ireland , France , Canada and New Zealand are 4 sides well equipped to challenge the Red Rose.

Enjoy the competition over the next few weeks and admire the skills on show. I would dearly love Ireland to better their 4th place finish from 2014, only time will tell….


Cian Mc Gibney


Erasmus Exits

Erasmus Exits

Johan “Rassie” Erasmus and his second in command Jacques Nienber will return to South Africa in December after Erasmus agreed to rejoin the South African Rugby Football Union as there Director Of Rugby. This piece of news will be tough to take for the players as it will create uncertainty around a crucial moment of the year.

The fact that Erasmus has exercised his right to leave the job he took up in July 2016 with two more years to run on his contract may leave a sour taste. He had always said he would one day return to South Africa and after the uncertainty following the death of Anthony Foley , he and Nienber provided stability to help all the players regain focus.

They put structures in place that helped each player find the strength to continue with the season and this saw them make the Semi Finals in Europe and the Pro 12 Final where they were beaten by the Scarlets.

The timing of Erasmus’s departure is extremely hard to fathom because Munster may not be in a position to bring in a full time replacement until the summer of 2018. The IRFU need to address the situation that has arisen for the second season in a row where a coach has given 6 months notice of his intention to leave his position. This particular departure comes in the middle of the upcoming season and will do nothing for continuity.

 Munster would have been hoping to build on the success of last season with Erasmus and Nienber at the helm, this will now not happen and could cause the good work to stall. Other factors that need to be considered are , the new signings that have arrived like Chris Farrell , James Hart and the return of JJ Hanrahan had been under the impression when they signed up that Erasmus would be the head coach for the 2017/2018 season at least.  

There are some other big questions that will need to be answered before the season starts like who will be brought in to replace Donnacha Ryan , Dave Foley and Mark Chisholm who have all left for pastures new and in the case of Mark Chisholm who has retired.

They are three large holes to fill in the squad and Munster will need at least one new second row to help the younger players like Sean O Connor and Sean Mc Carthy acclimatise to the rigors of professional rugby.

From the IRFU’s perspective this is another situation they didn’t think they would be facing until the end of the 2017/2018 season at least. They have now a short period of time in which to draw up a wish list of potential replacements and it will be interesting to see who they have in mind to try and continue the work that the South African duo have started.

 Immediately Ronan O Gara will be linked with the job but he has already said he is happy in France until 2019 at least. Paul O Connell will be linked although he has no top level coaching experience and after what happened with Leo Cullen in his first season in charge of Leinster the IRFU will be slow to appoint a coach with no experience.  

Men like Eddie O Sullivan and Rob Penney are surely two men the IRFU will approach to see if they would be interested in taking on the job. Conor O Shea would be my choice of a man that Munster should move heaven and earth to try secure his services until the 2019 World Cup at the very least. With Joe Schmidt due to leave his post as Ireland head coach in 2019 , in my humble opinion it would be beneficial to have O’Shea back on Irish soil. In saying that knowing the way O Shea operates he will see out his contract with the Italian Rugby Federation.

It is now over to the IRFU and Munster Branch to secure a worthy replacement for Erasmus and Nienber. They helped steady the ship when things were tough and now the IRFU need to do all they can to bring in a quality coach to bring Munster forward…..


Cian Mc Gibney