Irish Boxing Champ, Shot in Drogheda, Co Louth, In Ireland. (Night Shot)
Drogheda boxing bronze medalist Tony (Socks) Byrne unveiled a life sized bronze statue of himself at a gala golden jubilee ball at the Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda, Ireland, on December 1, 2006.
It was 50 years to the day that he won world honours for Ireland in 1956 at the Melbourne Olympics. Following the gala, the statue was installed on the south side of Scotch Hall, located on Marsh Road in Drogheda City.
When Tony Byrne was picked in 1955 to go to the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Ireland was hard-pressed for money to send a team. Tony explained how the people in Drogheda made his trip possible.
“Every man, woman and child in Drogheda collected money,” said Tony, "even the pubs threw in money, and they collected enough to send two people from Drogheda to the Olympics.
“That’s why I’m so proud to be from Drogheda and proud of the people of Drogheda. I went to Australia and won the bronze medal and when I came back to Drogheda, they gave me a hero’s welcome.”
Tony received another hero’s welcome when he returned to Drogheda for the special unveiling of the bronze statue in memory of his athletic contributions to Ireland. Tony (Socks) Byrne is the first Irish Olympian to have a bronze statue to recognize his achievements.