Dick Hearn Memorial Boxing Tournament
Boxing season in Mayo officially kicked off last month with the second annual Dick Hearn Memoria Tournament. Dick Hearn’s boxing club in Ballina welcomed the Garda Boxing club for this much anticipated event. The event is held in honour of Dick Hearn, a native of Ballina in County Mayo who was both a garda and a multi-talented and much-loved sportsman.
The event was presided over by tournament inspector, Tommy Byrne and his team of officials from the Mayo county board and had both male and female boxers taking part from all over Ireland. Darran Conlon of the Garda Boxing Club was the winner of the Dick Hearns shield which was presented to him by Joe Lavelle, President of the Dick Hearn’s club, proprietor of the “Merry Monk” and sponsor of the event.
Both men made speeches commenting on the high calibre of boxing on the night and the support from the officials and high turnout of spectators for the event. Time was also taken for a minutes silence in honour of Brian O’Donnell a former coach at the club who passed away in September. Dick Hearn’s son, Vincent was also present at the event and thanked all those involved for upholding the legacy of his father.
Sergeant Richard (Dick) Hearn was a founding member of the Ballina Boxing Club in 1927. He was only 21 when recruited by the Gardaí, having already served in the Irish Army and a qualified physical training instructor. However it was his love of boxing that caught the eye of Garda Commissioner Eoin O’ Duffy.
The Commissioner saw the potential in him and wanted to promote sports within the Gardaí. He went on to be a boxer in the Garda from 1928 until 1939 during which time he held successive Leinster and Irish light heavyweight champion titles and became British Open Amateur Champion and European Police Light Heavyweight Champion.
Over his 12 year boxing career he won 173 out of 198 fights. He became a drill instructor in 1939 where he was put in charge of new recruits at the Phoenix Park Garda depot until his retirement in 1964. He passed away on the 3rd September 1993 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery. His many trophies from boxing are on display at the Garda Siochana museum in Dublin Castle.