Donnelly and Cooper
DESCRIPTION: Boxers Donnelly (Irish) and Cooper (English) meet. Odds are on Cooper. First Donnelly is knocked down, then Cooper, then Donnelly again; (referee) Kelly's pretty daughter exhorts Donnelly to get up and win. He does,and Miss Kelly congratulates him
EARLIEST DATE: 1854 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 17(77b)); c.1845 (broadside, NLScotland L.C.1270(017))
KEYWORDS: pride fight sports
1815 - Donnelly (1788-1820) and Cooper fight in Kildare
FOUND IN: Ireland US(MW)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Kennedy 317, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
O'Conor, p. 27, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text)
OLochlainn 26, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morton-Ulster 44, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dean, pp. 21-22, "Donnely and Cooper" (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B 17(77b), "Donnelly and Cooper," The Poet's Box (Glasgow), 1854; also 2806 c.15(226), 2806 c.8(245), Firth c.19(16), Harding B 11(934), Harding B 11(935), Harding B 19(45), Johnson Ballads 2271B[some illegible words], "Donnelly and Cooper"
LOCSinging, as200750, "Donnelly and Cooper That Fought on Kildare," Johnson (Philadelphia), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.1270(017), "Donnelly and Cooper," James Kay (Glasgow), c.1845
cf. "Donnelly & Oliver" (broadside Murray, Mu23-y3:015, "Donnelly & Oliver" ("You muses I beg you will lend me your aid, I'll sing of brave Donnelly a true Irish blade"), James Lindsay (Glasgow), 19C; also Murray Mu23-y3:037, "Donnelly And Oliver," unknown, 19C) (subject)
cf. "Morrissey and the Black" (theme)
cf. "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor" (tune, theme)
cf. "Heenan and Sayers" (tune, theme)
"I'm the Boy Can Do It" (per broadside Bodleian Harding B 17(77b))
NOTES: Michael Padden and Robert Sullivan's May the Road Rise to Meet You, p. 211, devotes much space to Dan Donnelly, "a carpenter by day and a pub brawler by night," who was very popular with his people: on "September 14, 1814, he drew forty thousand fans to a fight -- a seventeen-round win over an Englishman" (note that, under the boxing rules of the time, rounds were not timed but ended with one fighter or the other knocked to the ground. The fight ended when he stayed down for half a minute).
They add that Donnelly was "as prodigious a drinker as he was a fighter," which apparently contributed to his demise at age 32.
Morton-Ulster has a brief history of Dan Donnelly, "knighted by the Prince Regent" [i.e. by the future George IV, son of George III who became regent during the periods of George III's madness - RBW], brought down by "good living and bad company," dead in 1820 at 32 years of age; "thousands lined the street to Glasnevin cemetery." - BS
Daithi O hOgain, The Lore of Ireland, Boydell Press, 2006, pp. 182-183, notes that Donnelly became a figure of folklore, with reports of him settling a bar brawl with one punch to each of the brawlers. There was also an account of his mother winning a race against a horse before his birth; although probably based on the tale of Macha, the mother did little to downplay it.
Supposedly a Captain William Kelly discovered Donnelly, a carpenter, in 1814; his career lasted until 1819. His first major fight was against the champion of Dublin, and lasted 16 rounds. There was a parade in Dublin, led by Donnelly's mother, to celebrate the victory over George Cooper.
O hOgain admits that there is "scant evidence" that George IV actually knighted Donnelly. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.