Gillian's young costar in TMC
Posted at 2:25 PM (PDT) on Sunday, May 30, 2004

Knockout blow for budding Ulster star

By David Kelly
30 May 2004
Belfast Telegraph

Movie producers have delivered a knockout blow to a young Belfast boxer's hopes to fight for Ireland in an upcoming championship.

For budding young acting star Tyrone McKenna has been banned from the ring . . . until he completes filming alongside Hollywood stars Gillian Anderson and Robert Carlyle in the movie The Big Celt.

The 14-year-old - a two-time Irish champ - is currently shooting scenes as Donal, the son of the former X Files star's character, Kate, in the movie being produced in Belfast.

And, it is understood that McKenna has impressed everyone on the set, with just how he has taken to acting.

He is now being tipped to follow in the footsteps of another former Ulster amateur boxer, Liam Neeson, now one of Hollywood's hottest properties.

But, the teen - who fights for Oliver Plunkett ABC - has been ordered to remove his gloves, until the movie is in the can, for fears he could be injured.

That means McKenna will have to withdraw from the Irish team, to fight in a Four Nations competition, this week, and an international bout against England, next month.

However, while he has been sharing lunch daily with Anderson and Carlyle, the young man has been continuing to keep himself in shape, just in case they allow him to box against England.

"Tyrone has been coming to the gym whenever he can and staying in shape," said boxing coach, Paddy McAllister.

"He's a great kid, but it looks like he will not be able to box, until the film is finished.

"I think he would have preferred to have been boxing, but this is a big chance for him, and he knows that."

Antrim Board president, Harry Cunningham, certainly believes McKenna has a bright ring future, whether or not he continues to perform on the big screen.

"He's a two-time Irish champion, and he is one of the most promising kids around at the moment," said Cunningham.