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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Ali treasures on view at Croker

CROKE PARK will feature boxing for the first time since Muhammad Ali fought Al 'Blue' Lewis there in 1972 when The Fighting Irishmen exhibition opens at the GAA Museum next week.

Barry McGuigan, one of Ireland's greatest, will perform the official opening of the exhibition on Tuesday evening. It will run until the end of August.

"Given the connection between Croke Park and Muhammad Ali, it is fitting that the exhibition will include a signed glove and shorts worn by Ali that night," said curator Jim Houlihan.

The exhibition features an array of robes, gloves, punchbags, photos, paintings and film footage of fighters with Celtic blood, from John L Sullivan, Jack Dempsey and Billy Conn to Wayne McCullough and John Duddy. No doubt much attention will focus on the preserved right arm of Dubliner Dan Donnelly, the bare-knuckle champion of Ireland whose body was stolen by grave robbers nearly 200 years ago.

"It's one of the oldest and most unique items of sports memorabilia," said Houlihan.

My book on the life of Dan Donnelly will be launched at the GAA Museum next month, and Jay Tunney, son of the late, great Gene, is coming over in August to talk about his book on his father's special relationship with Dublin playwright George Bernard Shaw.

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