St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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"Spider" Kelly and St Johnston

Derry boxing legend Billy Kelly visited St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre in December 2008.  Billy Kelly is better known as Spider.  Spider was a guest at the Annual Social Services Christmas Dinner which was held for senior citizens on Saturday 14th December.

There was a shed at Drumnashear in Carrigans and Spider liked to cycle out there from Derry to train.  Lots of local fans used to go and visit him as he trained.  Today Donegal Meat Processors is built on the site of the humble shed.

From about 1950 to about 1962, Spider won a fabulous 56 matches.  He won the Commonwealth Featherweight Champion title in 1954.  In 1955 he became the Great Britain Featherweight Champion. 

Once, Spider had a fight in the Donnybrook Bus Depot in Dublin.  In those days, Bus Depots were among the few buildings large enough for a huge crowd.  Venues and halls were uncommon.  Local men, Jackie Brown and Fonsie Brown cycled all the way down there.  They left Carrigans in the middle of the night and the journey took about 11 hours.  They found the road to Dublin difficult as they were afraid of getting lost.  Signage to assist in working out where one was going was not as helpful as today and there were few houses on the route.  Fonci visited Spider in the Centre and there was media coverage of the event in local paper, Donegal on Sunday, 1st February 2009.

Spider and Phonsie


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