by Jimmy Rhatigan

The King of Kilkenny boxing has celebrated his 90th birthday with his family.

Son of Callan, Jimmy Walsh has devoted his life to the sport of amateur boxing, particularly to his beloved Callan Boxing Club which he reformed after a spell working in London in his early years and has nurtured many champions during his brilliant decades as head coach at the club.

As a popular postman he delivered thousands of letters to local families. His devotion to his native place was unquestionable and he is still very proud that as a player he helped to deliver the senior hurling championship to his local club, John Lockes.

But boxing is in his warm heart and always on his mind. He loves the ring and had many great scraps with battling local boxers like the late Jimmy Bateman, the late Tony Coyne and Patrick Street publican, Seamus Delaney at a time when St Patrick’s Boxing Club was thriving in the city.

With his good friend, Johnny Donovan, fellow postman and boxer and brother-in-law he often boxed for his supper against tough opponents in the once famous boxing booths of London.

Jimmy is in good form and despite fading sight and what he calls wobbly pins he continues to coach young Callan boys and girls in boxing on two evenings a week.

Boxing has always been his first love in sport but it is his close and extended family that means everything to him.

He is so proud of his daughters Brenda and Ann who are so kind to him, his grand-daughter Sharon who will shortly welcome another arrival to the Walsh Clan; all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren and in-laws.

In any chat with Jimmy, his thoughts will wander fondly to the woman he loved, his late wife Stella who was also his successful dancing partner.

Sadly, Stella passed away as a comparatively young woman but in Jimmy’s words she is always by his side keeping him safe.

Kilkenny Press wishes him many more years of health and happiness.

It is my privilege to call him a friend.

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