You can leave Donegal but it never leaves you. That's the thought guiding two young Irish-American boxers with Donegal backgrounds who will participate in the 'Up Your Irish' Saint Patrick’s Day card at Madison Square Garden in New York city on March 17.
Danny O’Connor from Massachusetts and Danny 'Little Mac' McDermott are the names of the two emerging stars hoping to make Irish smile on the day. O’Connor has won 16 of his 17 professional fights to date with four by knock-out and is a 2008 Golden Glove champion.
'My ancestry goes back to Donegal,' he proudly told the Donegal Democrat this week. 'My father, who has dual citizenship, traced it back and my great-grandparents came from the county. I was able to visit when I was younger and I am dreaming of the day I will have the chance to come back and to bring my son Liam to visit. It means a lot to be Irish.
'I would also like to say that I never try to be anything I’m not and as I’m very proud of my Irish heritage I am also born in America and I am very proud of my roots here also.'
32 year old McDermott, a lightweight, hails from New Jersey and has a ring record of nine wins, four by knock-outs with one draw and four defeats. His grandparents are from Donegal and Foxford, County Mayo.
Watch the following video with O’Connor getting ready for his first professional fight. He explains his reason for boxing and the countless hours of practice needed to survive in the ring. You can find him on Facebook here, Twitter here and his website here.