05 May 2008 – by Bobby Lavery
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Formed in 1927, Corks Sunnyside Amateur Boxing Club is one of the oldest clubs in Ireland.
Its small premises just off Blarney Street on the north side of the Real Capital has become synonymous with producing champions.
The story behind the clubs name is quite simple the sun could regularly be seen shining on one side of the building.
The list of champions to come from the gym is breathtaking. A short glance through some of the roll of honour yields fond memories and familiar names.
The club won its first senior title in 1947, through welterweight Tommy Hyde in 1947. Then, Neilie Dunne won the heavyweight title in 1977. Kieran Joyce won the first of six senior titles in 1983.
The best was yet to come, however, with Sunnyside claiming the title of ‘best club’ in the 1986 senior championship. It was a golden year for the club, with Gordon Joyce taking the light welterweight title, the aforementioned Joyce collecting the light middleweight crown, and Paul Buttimer winning the flyweight title.
Buttimer and Joyce were fantastic boxers. The former won three flyweight titles in total, and one bantamweight title, while the latter claimed six national senior titles altogether, with the first of remarkable run of five successive triumphs coming in 1997.
The pair also boxed on the biggest stage of all – the Olympics. Buttimer represented Ireland at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Joyce, meanwhile, reached the quarter-finals of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and then repeated the feat four years later in 1988 Seoul.
Sunnyside had a boxer at four separate Olympics and Michael Roche was the sole boxer to represent Ireland at 2000 Sydney Games.
The club has, to date, amassed 21 national senior titles -. Tommy Hyde (1), Neilie Dunne (1), Paul Buttimer (4), Gordon Joyce (4), Michael Roche (5), Kieran Joyce (6).
Sunnyside also hold numerous juvenile titles, intermediate titles, under-18 titles, and youth titles.
The late Albie Murphy was coach to the Irish Olympic boxing team in 1988. The club is now coached by amateur legend Joyce.
Kieran took over this role after the untimely death of the Murphy in 1989 and has now guided two boxers who have represented Ireland at the Olympics.
He also has produced juvenile, intermediate, and senior champions, and a host of internationals.
Sunnyside have 30 to 40 juvenile boxers and they train regularly at parochial hall in the north side of the city.