Category Archives: Uncategorized

Katie’s world class…so why do we patronise her?

‘SHE fights like a man’.

That’s a compliment, I think, to Katie Taylor, Olympic medallist and world champion boxer. And it’s one that has popped up again and again this week.

Because, of course, we expect our female boxers to be dainty little diggers, checking their make-up at the bell.

We don’t expect them to fire flurries of punches and withstand heavy bodyblows.

And we’re not used to seeing them in a boxing ring, usually the preserve of swaggering and staggering men.

Katie Taylor fights like a man? She fights a better technical bout that most professional male boxers.

And she certainly fights better than most men I’ve see in action.

She’s proved herself as a world champion four times over, and her London performances are the icing on the cake.

And yet some folk continue to patronise the Wicklow woman.

Again and again, at the age of 26, she’s the Irish ‘girl’. Have you heard Paddy Barnes described as the Irish ‘boy’?

More than once there’s been a reference to her father Pete as Katie’s ‘daddy’. Ah, bless, a daddy watching his little girl trying her best. It’s heartwarming, isn’t it?

This cutesie crap is, of course, a million miles away from the reality of the professional training grind, the hours of mentoring and prep that the two Taylors put in, the clinical focus that’s yielded a slew of world championships and put Taylor on an Olympic podium.

But keep an ear out for it this evening – I guarantee it will slip into coverage of the gold medal bout.

But why is there this reaction among a minority of spectators?

Perhaps it’s Katie’s appearance.

We don’t expect champion boxers to be well-spoken, photogenic women from Bray.

Perhaps it’s her youthful looks.

But, at 26, Katie has already been boxing for 14 years, longer than many professional careers. Before that she lined out for local soccer teams. Maybe she played “like a boy” then?

Perhaps some people patronise Katie Taylor and her fellow female boxers because we’re just not used to seeing female boxing at the Olympics. The 2012 Games are the first time the sport’s featured, after all.

Whatever the reason it’s high time that people drop the cliches, the “isn’t she great for a girl” rubbish and applaud Katie Taylor the athlete, the winning Olympian.

Katie Taylor doesn’t fight like a man. She doesn’t fight like a woman either. She fights like Katie Taylor.

And few other boxers can do that.

This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, August 9, 2012

Waiting until an innocent person is killed

Another day, another report of a violent and unprovoked attack on our streets.
On this occasion a 25-year-old photographer was badly beaten up as he walked home in Celbridge, Co Kildare.
Kieran Broderick was approached by three men who struck him with a bottle without provocation, leaving him with stomach-churning injuries.
Such was the violence of the attack that his injuries could have been much, much worse.
The same gang are also suspected of earlier mugging a 19-year-old man in the area.
Kieran Broderick’s story is one that has become increasingly common in recent years.
Random, unprovoked acts of violence, often fuelled by drink or drugs, are now a regular occurrence, often with fatal results.
One shocking incident was the death of Polish fish worker Lukasz Rzeszu in Coolock, who was kicked to death by three men “for a buzz”.
Violent anti-social behaviour hit the headlines in the mayhem at the recent Swedish House Mafia show in the Phoenix Park.
But it can also been seen daily in the open drug-dealing and assaults that take place on Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street.
What happens there is replicated, albeit to a lesser degree, in cities and towns around the country.
Despite pledges from our politicians, and meetings between the Justice Minister and sorely under-resourced gardai, nothing seems to change.
Is it a case of waiting until the next unfortunate innocent is killed?

This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, July 27, 2012