Paddy Dwyer

OLYMPICS: 1924

OLYMPICS: 1924

SPORT: BOXING

Paddy Dwyer was born on 31 MAR, 1894 at Limekill Lane, off Mitchell Street, Thurles. He was still young when he joined the British Army and served with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment until it’s disbandment in 1922. His first big boxing success was when he won the novice’s welterweight championship of India in 1914. He had already won a championship title in the Channel Islands, and went on to win many Army tournaments in Ireland, France, England, Germany and Poland.

In 1924 he won the Irish senior welterweight title and went on to represent Ireland in the Paris Olympics. Now a member of the Irish ‘National Army’, Sergeant Paddy Dwyer was drawn against the champion of Great Britain, and easily outpointed him. In the next round Dwyer beat a boxer from Holland and in the quarter-final faced the Swiss champion, and knocked him out in the second round. Now in the semi-final Dwyer was up against the Argentine champion. Dwyer won the first round but in the second round the boxer from Argentina should have been disqualified after he had rushed at Dwyer with his head, leaving a big cut on Dwyer’s brow. Dwyer saw out the three rounds but did not go any further in the competition. Though in Olympics these days there is no box-off for third and fourth place [both are awarded a bronze medal] back then there was a box-off but Dwyer’s wound was so bad he was advised not to compete, and therefore finished in fourth place.

Sergeant Paddy Dwyer was also a good hurler and footballer, and after his retirement from the ring he was appointed official trainer to many Irish international boxing competitions, including the 1928 Antwerp Olympics and even ten years later in Chicago at the Golden Gloves tournament. He was well known for his fitness and sportsmanship, and before he retired from the Army he was stationed at Baldonnel where he was a physical training instructor to the Army Air Corps. Paddy ‘Rocky’ Dwyer died on 9 AUG, 1948 in Thurles, and is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. At his funeral he received a guard of honour from the Army Air Corps, and in 2002 a plaque to him was erected on Limekill Lane. There are photographs of him on display in the Local History section of Thurles Library and also an Olympic participation medal that was awarded to everybody who took part in the 1924 Olympic Games.

Next Week:

Boy Murphy,

boxing coach in Clonmel