The well-known priest agreed to take part in a charity white collar boxing event to help raise almost €700,000 needed for renovation funds on St.Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny.
Fr.McGroarty, who is originally from the Fanad Peninsula, showed he was well able to punch above his weight as he swapped blows with Liam Gordon in a bloody encounter at the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny.
Before getting into the ring the recently-ordained priest admitted he had been putting in the training.
He cut out all the junk-food and trained at least twice a week.
“I was involved in athletics when I was younger so I liked to keep fit. But the boxing training got me into good shape.
“I cut out the junk food a good bit and it was great to get a few tips from some of the lads at the Letterkenny Boxing Club. I really enjoyed it,” he said.
He admitted that some people might have raised an eyebrow at a priest steeping into the ‘squared circle’ but said he was delighted it was all for a good cause.
“I suppose some people might have raised an eyebrow at a priest getting involved in a boxing match but it’s only a bit of fun and it’s good that some from the church is right at the centre of the fundraising,” he said.
Before the bruising encounter, TV3 personality Noel Cunningham, who was the Master of Ceremonies for the night, warned Liam Gordan to watch out for the punching priest.
“He’d better be careful the next time he goes to mass and tries to get communion that he doesn’t get an upper-cut instead,” he laughed.
After a very enjoyable contest the referee declared the contest a draw.
And after his bout, it was back to work as normal as Fr.McGroarty as he donned his clerical collar as he was congratulated by hundreds of well-wishers.
Fr.Damian lost 6kgs during his gruelling two month training regime combined with his healthy-eating programme.
A capacity crowd of almost 700 people turned up for the Big Fight Night with all proceeds going to the St.Eunan’s Cathedral Restoration Fund.
One of those who turned up was St.Eunan’s Administrator Fr.Eamon Kelly who was there to support his colleague Fr.Damian.
Former TD and local GP Dr Jim McDaid was also on hand to oversee the boxer’s welfare on the night.
He was called into action when local butcher Stephen Shiels came up against Donegal GAA star Ciaran Greene in a no-holds-barred affair which lasted all of 60 seconds.
Dr.Jim, who was accompanied by his wife Siobhan and some friends, came to the ring and called a halt to proceedings.
The most entertaining fight of the night was the heavyweight clash between local man Malachy Dunleavy and Garda Ian Oates who had the capacity crowd on their feet for the full three rounds.