DCU won the inaugural Darren Sutherland Memorial Cup when they defeated an IATBA third level selection seven fights to three at The Venue recently. The event was held to mark the fifth anniversary since the Olympic bronze medallist’s death.
Olympic silver medallist and recently turned professional boxer John Joe Nevin, Sutherland’s teammate at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was in attendance along with Billy Walsh, the head coach for the Irish Elite Boxing team, and Sutherland’s family.
The event was sponsored by Bank of Ireland and the aim was to raise awareness of suicide and depression, with half of the proceeds raised on the night being donated to suicide awareness charity Pieta House.
The first fight of the night was the 60kg encounter of DCU’s Danny McGowan versus the IATBA selected boxer Anthony Lewis. McGowan had won the 60kg junior novice gold at the intervarsities just a week earlier, and was heavy favourite going into this tie. McGowan dominated from the off and won by unanimous decision.
The next few encounters were closer, however, with Aidan Gahan of DCU facing off against Kayode Anyinde in a 75kg encounter. Gahan started strong, knocking Anyinde down in the second round, but Anyinde grew as the fight went on and he won on a split decision that, to the spectator, could have gone either way.
DCU’s Sean Cuddy and Ciaran Ferry both won their bouts comfortably, showing a high level of skill and determination that had also been on show at the intervarsities. However, Faolan Rahill and Steven Murray were unlucky in their fights as they both lost out on split decisions, leaving the sides level at three apiece going in at the interval.
After the break, DCU went unbeaten and pushed on to claim the Darren Sutherland Memorial Cup with what is best described as a feast of boxing. Wins for John Quigley, Senan Kelly and Ryan Dervan meant that going into the final two fights, DCU had already won.
Michael Faney and Sam Rice finished the night in superb style, both boxers producing a solid display with Faney being named ‘Fighter of the Night’.
The night started out with a documentary video made by incoming Students’ Union President Kenneth Browne, which included comments from Irish boxer and Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Egan and Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes.
The documentary highlighted how it was Sutherland’s work ethic that separated him from the rest and that he faced adversity when he went back to school to complete the Leaving Certificate at 23 years of age.
DCU staff in the documentary recalled how Sutherland was able to balance the pressures of university life and his strict training regime, and he finished top of his class in first year and excelled from then until he received his degree.
The night finished with Sutherland’s father, Tony, presenting the trophy to DCU Boxing Club, which topped off what can be best described as a highly successful 12 months for them.
Image Credit: Conor Palin-Stewart