On this day eight years ago, the 21st of March 2009, the Irish national rugby team won their first Grand Slam since 1948 when they pipped Wales by two points in Cardiff.
However, the green clad warriors that emerged victorious from the Millennium Stadium and secured history were not the only Irish sportsmen to produce heroics that day.
Maybe their success will live longer in the memory and in Irish sporting lore, but later that evening Bernard Dunne turned in one of the gutsiest performances ever from an Irish fighter to rip the WBA super-bantamweight title from Panama’s Ricardo Cordoba in front of an ecstatic crowd at what was then the O2 Arena in his hometown of Dublin.
Dunne, who floored Cordoba with a heavy shot in the third but failed to finish his resilient foe, was himself forced to climb off the canvas on two occasions in the fifth before he finally put Cordoba away in the dramatic 11th. Having already scored two knockdowns in that round, Dunne finished Cordoba with a hail of vicious shots that left the 24-year-old completely unconscious.
It was a phenomenal showing from Dunne, who was only a few wins removed from a devastating first-round knockout loss to Kiko Matinez, and the bout was widely regarded as one of the fights of the year.
Earlier today, Dunne’s countryman and, indeed, fellow Dubliner Conor McGregor paid tribute to the retired boxer for his performance that night. Above a video of highlights from the bout, which he shared to his Facebook page, the UFC lightweight champion wrote;
A truly amazing fight on Irish soil!!! Bernard earned the world that night! Much respect to him always!
However, in the comments section, one man seemingly decided to take a little pop at Dunne, focusing on the fact that he lost the WBA strap to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym at the O2 in his very first defence a little more than six months later.
McGregor wasn’t about to let him away with that.
H/t The Sun
On Saturday, as it happens, McGregor was in New York to witness the professional debut of a man who hopes to emulate Bernard Dunne and win gold at super-bantamweight. Michael Conlan stopped Tim Ibarra inside three rounds in front of a raucous crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, as McGregor shouted, bobbed, weaved and punched air in support at ringside.