Drumsurn dominates Big Fight Night
County Times, April 2015

St. Matthews GAC defeated Limavady Rugby and Hockey Club by 6 bouts to 4 at the inaugural inter-club, intercode Big Fight Night, but both clubs came away as big winners as the event proved to be a massive success.

Over 1000 spectators packed into the Roe Valley Leisure Centre to see the clubs collide, helping raise 25,000 for both organisations.

Massive kudos must go to the organising panel, who for six months endeavoured to set the card, sell tickets and put together what was an incredibly professional set up for an evening of amateur boxing.

The ring was first class, the lighting rigs, the sound system, the pre-match videos of each competitor, nothing that you would see in a big fight night in Vegas was left out in terms of the production, except pyrotechnics, It was-simply fantastic.

There was even a touch of stardust about the judging panel' which consisted of current IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight Champion, Eamonn O'Kane and former WBA and EBU Light welterweight Champion, Paul McCloskey.

The two local boxing legends were also joined by Ulster Rugby stars Paddy Jackson and William Holden and Motorcycling superstar Michael Dunlop.

The fights were all set for three one and a half minute rounds and were all officiated by Ricky Morrison, who did a stellar job keeping everyone safe throughout the evening.

All in all everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished with the Big Fight Night.

The organisers, fighters, spectators, sponsors, trainers, ring announcers and judges all helped to put on show that will live long in the memory around the Roe Valley.

Hopefully this is just the start of something great between these two clubs as people are already calling for round 2.

 

Fight 1 : Christopher 'Jack' Harbinson V Brandon Smith

 

The first fight of the night was between Drumsurn's Chrissy Harbinson and Limavady's Brandon Smith.

Despite Smith entering to music that is associated with UFC and Professional Wrestling Champion Brock Lesnar, it was Harbinson who started out like a beost.

The Drumsurn man predicted a first round knock out before the bout and he controlled the centre of the ring and looked the aggressor throughout the first round.

Smith gained some composure in the second round before going on to put in a good shift in the third, catching Harbinson with a good left cross before the Drumsurn man hit back with a sweet right hook.

In a fight that really could have gone either way, Harbinson's dominant start ensured that the judges ruled him the victor.

1-0 Drumsurn

Fight 2 : Catherine Bradley V Bronagh Doherty Cooke

 

In the first of two ladies bouts, Limavady's Bronagh Cooke entered the ring as the odds on favourite. Her scheduled opponent pulled out a week before show time and her place was taken by her sister, Catherine Bradley.

Fair play to Catherine, the participants in the fight night had been training for weeks on end to get ring ready and to take the fight at such short notice is commendable.

However, as predicted Cooke dominated the opening round. She came out of her corner with intent and purpose and had Bradley on the back foot, landing some decent shots throughout and forcing Bradley to take a standing 8 count.

Into the second and a slip from Cooke which saw her take a tumble seemed to give Bradley confidence and she started to make a match of it.

She had Cooke flustered a couple of times but the Limavady lady was still managing to get some shots off of her own in what was turning into a really competitive encounter.

Into the third and Cooke again began to dominate and for a second time in the fight Bradley had to take a standing count after a thunderbolt of a right hand landed flush on the side of her face.

Both were still trying to come forward when the final bell rang and while it was a clear win for Cooke, it was a much closer contest than people may have expected.

Both ladies put on a great show.

Drumsurn 1 - Limavady 1

Fight 3 : Franci Chivers V Glen Anderson

 

Llmavady's Glen Anderson was one of the main organisers of the event, so many in the crowd supporting him were disappointed that this fight with Franci Shivers didn't get past the first round.

Shivers caught Anderson with a stout jab which looked to have broken the Limavady man's nose. While the ringside medics would later confirm that this wasn't the case, the blood was flowing so freely that referee Ricky Morrison called the match off after just one round.

Drumsurn 2 - Limavady 1

Fight 4 : Ciaran 'Banty' Mullan V Alan Kilburn

 

Fight four proved to be the most one sided contest of the evening. Unfortunately for Drumsurn's Ciaran Mullan, he came up against a clearly motivated and well trained Alan Kilburn, who won all three rounds, drawing blood in the second with one of the shots of the night.

Kilburn was quicker around the ring, commanded the centre and simply outclassed Mullan from bell to bell in all three rounds.

An easy decision in the end for the judges.

Drumsurn 2 - Limavady 2

Fight 5 : Ronan McNickle V Liam O'Hara

 

In another case of somebody having to stand in for a fighter who withdrew from his match late in the day, Drumsurn's Ronan McNickle took the place of his brother Pierce to square off against Limavady's Liam O'Hara.

O'Hara entered the ring to the loudest reception of thee night so far but soon found that despite taking on a replacement fighter, he would be in for quite the fight.

McNickle had O'Hara on the floor courtesy of a right hook in the first as the Drumsurn man got to grips with the occasion right from the off.

O'Hara battled back but McNickle just seemed to be one step ahead of him every time he put together anything that threatened,

Over the three rounds the crowd really found their voice and cheered the fighters on to what was perhaps the most entertaining contest of the evening, O'Hara fighting from underneath as McNickle boxed with intelligence to counter before pushing on with aggression.

It was close but in the end up the judges ruled that McNickle was the better man over the three rounds. The very pro O'Hara crowd didn't like it but it was the right cell.

Drumsurn 3 - Limavady 2

Fight 6 : Alicea McGonigle V Lauren Marshall

 

In the second ladies bout of the evening Drumsurn's Alicea McGonigle and Limavady's Lauren Marshall put on another really enjoyable contest.

Marshall came out of the corner for the first with what looked to be a huge smile on her face. If she was trying to play mind games with her opponent it worked, as she controlled the match throughout.

McGonigle showed plenty of heart to keep fighting back through all three rounds but couldn't cope with the big punching Marshall who levelled things on the night

Drumsurn 3 - Limavady 3

Fight 7 : Cahir Mullan V Adam 'Goober' Miller

 

Cahir Mullan defeated Adam Miller in the 7th fight of the evening to allow his Drumsurn side to retake the overall lead once again.

The fight was feisty and highlighted by a couple of big shots landed by both men, with a little bit of wrestling thrown in for good measure as both hit the canvas after a half ddt - half headlock take down by Mullan.

Miller showed plenty of endeavour and landed with a few decent shots throughout the three rounds, including a couple of good straight lefts but Mullan had the measure of him for the most part, landing a number of precise jabs and crosses to claim the judges decision.

Drumsurn 4 - Limavady 3

Fight 8 : Shane 'Compo' Moore V Neil 'Melvy' Moore

 

Another of the key organisers of the event took to the ring in this battle of namesakes.

Limavady's Neil Moore arrived to thunderous applause, well deserved considering the effort he put into putting the show together.

Shane Moore certainly didn't let the partisan crowd get to him though as the pair battled through an even first round.

Neil (Melvy to his friends) started with gusto landing with a couple of good right hands but Shane was doing well to duck and weave to come back with a couple of counter punches.

Both men's footwork was admirable as they stayed on their toes and managed to avoid most of the haymakers thrown in round one.

Shane did connect with a very good left hook after working his opponent's body in the corner but some nice combination punches from the Limavady man brought an end to the first.

Into the second and Neil was using the jab to perfection, keeping his opponent at bay before landing the first good shot of the round with a right hook.

He then backed the Drumsurn man into a corner to unload a barrage of shots before the pair clinched and the referee had to bring them out.

Shane put Neil on his heels at the end of the second with a big right hand but the Limavady man recovered well.

Into the third and things were too close to call. Neil caught Shane with a good right, left combination to back him onto the ropes but he came back with aplomb, landing some strong left hands as both men began to tire.

Neil ended the round the aggressor and as the bell rang it was now over to the judges for the unenviable task of calling the winner in what was a great bout.

In the end, Limavady's Moore had his hand raised to the delight of the Leisure Centre.

Drumsurn 4 - Limavady 4

Fight 9 : Jordan O'Neill V Andy Hunt

 

In the penultimate fight of the night, Drumsurn's Jordan O'Neill outlasted Limavady's Andy Hunt.

Hunt had the speed but O'Neill had the precision and in the first round the Drumsurn man had his opponent stumbling across the ring after a hefty right hand found its mark.

In the second O'Neill continued to dominate as his defence was almost as good as his attack. Hunt couldn't find a way through and O'Neill took his time and hit back expertly with counter punches.

Having bided his time in the opening two rounds, O'Neill came out swinging in the third landing on a number of occasions.

Hunt hung in there as best he could and never gave up the ghost but in the end O'Neill deservedly claimed the win.

Drumsurn 5 - Limavady 4

Fight 10 : Mickey Coll V Philip 'Beefy' Mullan

 

Mickey Coll was the oldest Drumsurn fighter on show and he used all of that experience to outclass Phillip 'Beefy' Mullan in the last fight of the night to ensure that Drumsurn came away from the event victorious.

Coll was in control from start to finish and while Mullan was game and still smiling come the end of the three rounds, this was one of the easier decisions for the judging panel on the night.

Drumsurn 6 - Limavady 4