November 14, 2010
Paul Rimstead column on Shillelagh O'Sullivan, March 5, 1973
By PAUL RIMSTEAD - Toronto Sun Columnist
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column first appeared in the March 5, 1973 edition of the Toronto Sun.
If one win is a winning streak, Shillelagh O'Sullivan is on the greatest winning streak of his life.
We won, dammit, when Shillelagh made his wrestling debut last night at Maple Leaf Gardens.
He pinned Johnny Carr, of St. Louis, in just over one minute without even displaying his patented Leprechaun Nightcap.
The big problem was that the bout did not last nearly long enough for people to see what Shillelagh can do.
As some of you may know, I am the manager of Shillelagh O'Sullivan, the former Irish middleweight boxing champion and now his country's heavyweight wrestling champ.
The problem, I guess, is that Shillelagh was so anxious to impress people that he went through his entire repertoire of holds, despite the fact that Carr outweighed him by almost 20 pounds, to score his convincing victory.
I started to really worry early yesterday morning when 230-pound Shillelagh did not answer his telephone at home.
"Perhaps," said John McNamara, one of my assistants, "he has left town."
I can not describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But, as things turned out, Shillelagh were merely away from his home while taking his wife and three children to church.
As we prepared for last night's debut, the rest of us were much more nervous than Shillelagh.
Charlie McDonough, our resident leprechaun, seemed most nervous of all.
Charlie, of course, is the little man who tends the door at Mike Shanahan's bar at the Inn On The Park on Eglinton Ave., called Flanagan's.
"I've never seen 15,000 people in the same place," he said, continuing to pop roasted peanuts into his mouth in our dressing room.
We assured him there was nothing to worry about and that, no matter how tough Johnny Car was, the rest of us would be able to handle him.
In addition to McNamara, we had Don Sullivan, a rough-tough singer now appearing at the Tara Tavern on Bloor St.
"If they touch ya," we told Charlie, "they'll hafta answer to us."
I mentioned here Friday that we were having trouble locating an old record made by Bing Crosby called Shillelagh O'Sullivan and, suddenly, they started to pour in.
The first one came from Ben Kerr who always comes up in a tight spot.
And then, they started to come in from various parts of the city.
Naturally, we wanted to make our debut first-class if at all possible. And, thanks to Miss Christine Adlersparre, I think we did just that.
I wish you could have seen the robe that Miss Adlersparre, my next door neighbor, made for our hero.
She did it in two days over the weekend and it was a bright emerald green with a lighter green inside and a huge shamrock set on the back, smaller ones on the lapels and cuffs, encircled with shiny silvery material.
There is no commercial company who could have done the job -- no matter how much time they took -- as well as Miss Adlersparre.
She even dyed Shillelagh's boots a brilliant green, plus a pair of my own boots, the only ones that I owned.
Mr. McNamara and Mr. Sullivan wore white tee-shirts with large green shamrocks on their chests and Shillelagh's name emblazoned on their backs.
These were done by Morris the Buttonman (who I referred to Friday incorrectly as Harold the Buttonman) who owns a company called HAS Novelties.
And then, of course, we had little Charlie McDonough, complete in his leprechaun outfit and nervous twitches.
I was outfitted by my pals at Tuxedo Junction in a lime green tuxedo jacket, light green shirt with frilled cuffs and front, dark green bow tie, white trousers and my own bright green, once-black boots.
The only flaw in our entire production, other than the fact that Shillelagh won too quickly, was that Mr. McNamara and myself were limping as we marched in to the Bing Crosby record.
This was a result of a tactical meeting we held on Saturday morning (or late Friday night).
We put on the record in my apartment after a rather hectic evening on the town and suddenly, for some unknown reason, decided to experiment with a few holds.
Mr. McNamara, I am afraid, popped the cartilage in his left knee and X-rays today will tell me whether or not I broke the little toe on my left foot.
We decided then and there to leave our fighting to Shillelagh O'Sullivan.
We are out to defeat The Sheik.