“Donnelly and Cooper”


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


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. - RBW

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

Historical references

  • 1815 - Donnelly (1788-1820) and Cooper fight in Kildare

Same tune

  • "I'm the Boy Can Do It" (per broadside Bodleian Harding B 17(77b))

Cross references

  • 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," unknow
  • cf. "Morrissey and the Black" (theme)
  • cf. "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor" (tune, theme)
  • cf. "Heenan and Sayers" (tune, theme)


  • 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


  1. Kennedy 317, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. O'Conor, p. 27, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text)
  3. OLochlainn 26, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Morton-Ulster 44, "Donnelly and Cooper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Dean, pp. 21-22, "Donnely and Cooper" (1 text)
  6. Roud #2147
  7. BI, K317


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1854 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 17(77b)); c.1845 (broadside, NLScotland L.C.1270(017))
Keywords: pride fight sports
Found in: Ireland US(MW)