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Here's a few pics of John's Olympic medal - the boxer of the year 1952 and pics of John today with his great nephew (Eamonn McNally) continuing the McNally boxing tradition...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Olympic medal record
Men’s Boxing
Silver Helsinki 1952 Bantamweight

John McNally (born November 3, 1932 in Belfast, Northern Ireland} is a former boxer. McNally is most noted for winning a silver medal for Ireland at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki in the Bantamweight division. In the final McNally lost a split decision to Pentti Hämäläinen of Finland. A year later McNally won a bronze medal in the European Amateur Boxing Championships held in Warsaw. In 1954 McNally turned professional but his pro career did not reach the heights of his amateur days. He fought only 25 times and finished with a record of 14 wins, 9 defeats and 2 draws.

 

BOXING





 
GOLD

Michael Carruth - Welterweight Barcelona, 1992.

SILVER

John McNally - Bantamweight Helsinki, 1952
Fred Tiedt - Welterweight Melbourne, 1956
Wayne McCullough - Bantam Barcelona, 1992

BRONZE

Freddie Gilroy - Bantamweight Melbourne, 1956
John Caldwell - Flyweight Melbourne, 1956
Tony Byrne - Lightweight Melbourne, 1956
Jim McCourt - Lightweight Tokyo, 1964
Hugh Russell - Flyweight Moscow, 1980

 
Winner NOC Result Loser NOC
First Round (July 28 & 29)
Kang Joon-Ho South Korea BYE
Fazlollah Nickhah Iran BYE
David Moore United States BYE
Egon Schidan West Germany BYE
Vincenzo Dall'osso Italy BYE
Ibrahim Abdrabbou Egypt BYE
John McNally Ireland BYE
Alejandro Ortuoste Philippines BYE
František Majdloch Czechoslovakia BYE
Angel Luis Figueroa Otero Puerto Rico 3 - 0 Tien Vinh Vietnam
Raul Macías Guevara Mexico 3 - 0 Angel Amaya Venezuela
Gennadi Garbuzov Soviet Union 2 - 1 Jean Renard Belgium
Pentti Hämäläinen Finland 3 - 0 Thomas Nicholls Great Britain
Henryk Niedzwiedzki Poland TKO 1R Ronald Charles Gower Australia
Ion Zlataru Romania DSQ 3R Antoine Martin France
Helmuth von Gravenitz South Africa 2 - 1 Romulo Pares Argentina
Second Round (July 30)
Kang Joon-Ho South Korea 3 - 0 Fazlollah Nickhah Iran
David Moore United States 3 - 0 Egon Schidan West Germany
Vincenzo Dall'osso Italy 3 - 0 Ibrahim Abdrabbou Egypt
John McNally Ireland 3 - 0 Alejandro Ortuoste Philippines
František Majdloch Czechoslovakia 3 - 0 Angel Luis Figueroa Otero Puerto Rico
Gennadi Garbuzov Soviet Union 3 - 0 Raul Macías Guevara Mexico
Pentti Hamalainen Finland 3 - 0 Henryk Niedzwiedzki Poland
Helmuth von Gravenitz South Africa 2 - 1 Ion Zlataru Romania
Third Round (July 31)
Gennadi Garbuzov U.S.S.R 3 - 0 František Majdloch Czechoslovakia
Kang Joon-Ho South Korea 2 - 1 David Moore U.S.A
Pentti Hämäläinen Finland 3 - 0 Helmuth von Gravenitz South Africa
John McNally Ireland 3 - 0 Vincenzo Dall'osso Italy
Semi-final (August 1)
John McNally Ireland 3 - 0 Kang Joon-Ho South Korea
Pentti Hämäläinen Finland 3 - 0 Gennadi Garbuzov Soviet Union
Final (August 2)
Pentti Hämäläinen Finland 2 - 1 John McNally Ireland
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7169759.stm

Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 12:36 GMT

Olympic hero joins hall of fame

By Kelly Bonner
BBC News

 
John McNally
John McNally was the first Irish boxer to win an Olympic medal
John McNally was first assured his place in Irish boxing folklore back in August 1952 when he became the first Irish boxer to win a medal in the Olympics.

The west Belfast-born pugilist won the bantamweight silver medal at the Helsinki Olympics.

John lost a disputed split decision to the home-town favourite, Finland's Pentti Hamalainen.

On Friday, 4 January he will be inducted into the Irish Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the National Stadium, Dublin.

His achievement put Irish amateur boxing on the world stage and at the following Olympic Games, held in Melbourne in 1956, Irish boxers went on to claim four medals.

The 74-year-old, began his boxing career at the tender age of 12 when he joined the Immaculata Boxing Club in West Belfast.

He competed in the Ulster Finals and won the Irish Championship in Dublin.

The Freemen
The former boxer, second from left, in the Freemen

His success continued as he later went on to win the Ulster Flyweight title, the Ulster and Irish Bantamweight title and the prestigious Golden Gloves representing Europe in Chicago in 1953.

John turned professional in 1954, but his career in the paid ranks was not as successful as the one he enjoyed as an amateur. In all he fought 25 professional fights and won 14 of them.

John retired from boxing at the age of just 28 and after hanging up his gloves his career took a dramatic turn.

He enjoyed a successful career as a musician and toured the world with his group The Freemen.

The band played live shows in cities such as Paris, New York, Toronto and Detroit.

John McNally with author Barry Flynn
Mr McNally with 1992 gold medal winner Michael Carruth

Speaking from his Belfast home he said: "I am very honoured that I will be given the recognition of my peers in boxing by being chosen for the Hall of Fame.

"I have always felt great pride in my achievements and indeed I feel very humbled.

"I cherish the great times that I had representing Ireland and this award has been most welcome."

 

Gentleman John McNally

Gentleman John McNally

Belfast boxer who became Northern Ireland's first Olympic medallist back in 1952

Updated: 03/11/2009
John McNally's place among the immortals of Northern Irish sport was assured on August 2, 1952. That afternoon the Belfast man claimed the bantamweight silver medal at the Helsinki Olympics. In doing so, he became the first man from Northern Ireland to win an Olympic medal, and the first from the island of Ireland to win a boxing medal at a modern day Olympic Games.

McNally's feat lit the flame on a glorious decade for Irish pugilism, and would inspire a further eight Belfast boxers to claim Olympic medals. Figures such as John Caldwell, Wayne McCullough and Paddy Barnes may be household names, but it was the achievement of John McNally that set the ball rolling in 1952.

John McNally circa 1952Born in 1932, in Cinnamond Street in Belfast's Pound Loney area, McNally first acquired a taste for the boxing game as a juvenile with the Immaculata club. The Pound Loney district was a myriad of mill streets off the lower Falls Road, which has now virtually disappeared from the city’s landscape. Its toughness and community spirit were renowned, and it was a perfect breeding ground for excellent fighters.

McNally's natural talent in the ring began to tell and by 1951 he had progressed further to claim the Ulster and Irish junior flyweight crowns. This put him in the running for a place in the Irish Olympic team, and the following year he duly won the Irish senior bantamweight crown and was picked for Helsinki.

For a young man who had held an ambition to travel Europe, the Olympic Games were for McNally a world away from the hardships of post-war Belfast - a city which was still recovering from the devastations of the Belfast Blitz.

Fortune was on McNally's side, however, as he was awarded a bye in the opening round of the bantamweight competition. In his first bout, he was a unanimous winner over Alejandro Ortuosto from the Philippines. Next up was the quarterfinal, where the experienced and fancied Italian Vincent Dall Osso was waiting for the Belfast boy.

While McNally was not fancied to progress, the Irishman was at the top of his game: Dall Osso was out pointed convincingly as McNally used his left jab effectively to swing a unanimous decision from the judges.

The semi-final saw McNally go toe-to-toe with the tough Korean, Joen Kang. In the early part of the contest, McNally had to deal with some clever attacking from the Korean, but gradually began to assert himself and, with some clever defensive boxing, soon took command. Unfortunately the final was not to be, as McNally lost on a controversial decision to the local favourite, Finland's Pennti Hamalainen. As he recalled, there was great suspicion of a 'home-town' bias among the judges.

‘It was the last day of the Games and the host nation had not yet won a gold medal, so there was a lot of weight on the Finn’s shoulders to deliver. It came down to the three judges and the British judge gave it to me, while the American and the Austrian gave it to Hamalainen. I was devastated and in floods of tears because I was convinced that I had won the gold medal,’ McNally recalls.

‘After the ceremony, I came out of the ring and the official doctor took one look at my back - which had been shredded through rope burn - and ordered me to go to the dressing room to be tended to.

‘Once there, a medic took out a bottle of pure alcohol and told me to lie face down on a bench and warned me that the alcohol would sting my back badly. I recall there was a boxer lying meditating on the bench beside me preparing himself mentally for his own final bout, and he held out his hands for me to grip,’ he continues.

‘It really did hurt. I felt I was about to scream so I squeezed that boxer's hands very hard in a reaction to the pain. Only later did I come to realise that the man who offered to hold my hands that day was the legendary Floyd PatteMcNally pictured with Michael Carruth - gold medallist 1992rson, future heavyweight champion of the world.’

Almost six decades after his Olympic dream was shattered, McNally is phlegmatic about the defeat.

‘My philosophy in life has always been to never look back in anger. In retrospect, the experience has stood me in good stead and helped me cope with adversity in later life,’ he remarks.

Given that the only athlete from either Britain or Ireland to claim a
gold medal at the Helsinki Olympics was a horse named Foxhunter, ridden by Harry Llewellyn, McNally's silver was big news at home.

‘Eventually I took the Belfast train and I could not believe the numbers who were there to greet me. The crowds were so excited that they actually broke through the railings at the station to get to me - it was only then that I realised how significant an achievement it all had been,’ he admits.

In 1953, McNally went to the European Championships, which were held in Warsaw, and added a bronze medal to his Olympic silver. Later that year, he represented Europe in a tour of the United States and was made an honorary Golden Gloves champion, after he returned from the tour undefeated.

After going as far as he could in the amateur game, McNally joined the paid ranks in what he still feels was the greatest mistake of his career. ‘There are no friends in a professional boxing ring and all the enjoyment you get as an amateur vanishes,’ he explains.

When asked about the most important advice for any boxer, he recalls something that was said to him by an Egyptian competitor at the weigh-in for the 1952 Olympic Games. The Egyptian had been on the end of some insults from Iranian fighters in the queue, yet he refused to become involved in the petty insults. Instead he remained quiet and ignored the abuse.

McNally asked the Egyptian why he did not defend himself, and with a glance in McNally’s eyes, he responded: ‘Sir, I will do my talking in the ring and always remember this: when somebody has beaten you, take your hat off to them; when you beat somebody, take your hat off to them also - but make sure it fits your head when you put it back on.’

That gem of civility is something that has stuck with gentleman John McNally since 1952 - and you can tell.

Barry Flynn

 

John McNally: The Man Who made Olympic History

 

[extracts from the Appletree Press title Legends of Irish Boxing published by Appletree Press]


Belfast’s John McNally’s place among the immortals of Irish sport was assured on the afternoon of 2nd August 1952, when he claimed the bantamweight silver medal for Ireland at the Helsinki Olympics. In doing so, he became the first man from these shores to win a boxing medal at a modern day Olympic Games. He achieved the breakthrough for Ireland and staked the nation’s claim among the elite of world boxing.
      His feat lit the flame on a glorious decade for Irish pugilism, which saw names such as Gilroy, Caldwell, Byrne and Tiedt follow in his wake to achieve Olympic glory in Melbourne in 1956. The anomaly today however is that the man who first put Irish boxing on the Olympic map is a largely overlooked figure. He has never milked the limelight of his achievement and remains an unassuming character in his native Belfast. His story is a remarkable one: a man who scaled the heights in sport and then hung up his gloves to use his musical talents to lead ‘The Freemen’, one of Ireland’s most popular folk groups in the 1970s. From battling boxer to principal banjo player, John McNally’s life has been one long, rich tapestry.
      Born in 1932 in Cinnamon Street in Belfast’s Pound Loney area, McNally first acquired a taste for the boxing game as a juvenile with the local Immaculata club. The Pound Loney district was a closeknit myriad of mill streets in the lower Falls area which has now virtually disappeared from the city’s landscape. Its toughness and poverty, as well as its community spirit, were renowned and it was a natural breeding ground for excellent boxers.
      As John explained, there was only one place in the area that a lad with an interest in boxing could go to learn the game.
      “I’m a Pound Loney man through and through and it was only natural that I joined the Immaculata club in Devonshire Street when I was quite young. I stayed there for a while but then there was a bit of a disagreement within the club and I was unhappy with a few things, so I left to join the St Mary’s club in King Street, where I went on to win an Ulster juvenile title.”

All was not plain sailing for McNally’s career. One episode whilst at school illustrated to him the primacy that the authorities felt that education should have over boxing. Having won the Ulster juvenile title, the progression to national honours was no foregone conclusion.
      “I was at the time a pupil at the Christian Brothers’ School in Hardinge Street but, due to my examinations, I was not permitted by the Brothers to go to Dublin to compete for the Irish title. That really upset me inside but I did learn the lesson in hindsight that there was more to life than boxing.”

McNally’s natural talent in the ring began to tell and by 1951 he had progressed further to claim the Ulster and Irish junior flyweight crowns. This achievement put him in the running for a place in the Irish Olympic team and the following year he duly won the Irish senior bantamweight crown and was picked for Helsinki.
      For a young man who had held an ambition to travel Europe, the Olympic Games in Helsinki were a world away from the hardships of post-war Belfast. A city which was recovering from the devastations of the war was a far cry from the opulence of the Olympic Games.
      “It was just a dream come true to represent my country in the green vest on a stage such as that and I was never so proud,” he said. “Literally, I found it hard to believe that I, a lad from the Pound Loney, had been picked and was going to travel to the Olympics in Finland. The honour was something I cherish and always will.”

The fifteenth summer games took place in Helsinki from 19th July until 3rd August 1952. The Irish Olympic squad went to the Games in hope rather than expectation. However, the eightstrong boxing team was made up of a virtual who’s who of Irish greats with Andrew and Thomas Reddy, Terry Milligan, Peter Crotty, William Duggan, John Lyttle and Kevin Martin competing along with McNally for honours. Fortune was on McNally’s side as he was awarded a bye in the opening round of the bantamweight competition. In his next bout, he was a unanimous winner over Alejandro Ortuosto from the Philippines.
      Next up was the quarterfinal where the experienced and fancied Italian Vincenzo Dall’Osso was waiting for the Belfast boy. While McNally was not expected to come through the bout, the Irishman was at the top of his game and felt very assured and confident. As he explained, a tough international battle prior to the games had put him in the right frame of mind.
      “In the warm up to the Olympics, I had represented Ireland against the American Golden Gloves Champions in Dublin,” he said. “I came up against a guy from New York called Jack Carabino and he gave me the hardest fights that I had ever experienced. He had one of the most vicious punches I had ever felt but I fought back with all I had that night to claim victory. After I had got the decision over Carabino, I felt so confident that I believed that I would be unbeatable in the Games.”


 

Follow the next part of John McNally - The Man Who made Olympic History
 

Extracted from the Appletree Press title: Legends of Irish Boxing by Barry Flynn.
Also available from Appletree Press: John McNally - Boxing's Forgotten Hero by Barry Flynn

 

 

 

 

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