Vengeance Achieved

Recent research has proven that Al Capone did not willingly leave his hometown of CaponevsLonerganBrooklyn. In fact, he was forced out by a local Irish gang called the White Hand (named in opposition to the “invading” Italian Black Hand).

In 1899, the year Al Capone was born, Brooklyn was a heavily populated industrialized and manufacturing hub. All along the waterfront area there were gigantic sugar refineries, coffee storage houses, weapons manufacturers, soap manufacturers, cardboard box makers and canned food shippers. . . the list goes on and on. Ten years earlier New York City had taken over London as the busiest port city in the world and the longshoremen trade (loading and unloading steamships) employed thousands of rough and tumble men. 

Cover with Blurb

Divide the Dawn will be released April 2020, but can be pre-ordered HERE.

The longshoremen trade had been dominated in Brooklyn by the Irish since their arrival in the 1840s due to the Great Hunger (commonly known as the potato famine). 95 Navy Street, where Capone was born, was on the outskirts of a neighborhood known as “Irishtown,” just south of the Navy Yard in an outlying Italian Cammora neighborhood.

But Irishtown dominated. It was the location of the Irish White Hand’s headquarters, the Dock Loaders’ Club at 25 Bridge Street. No one could get a job as a longshoremen without checking in the Dock Loaders’ Club. And most Italians had to go south of the Gowanus Canal to work on the docks at the Bush and Grand Army Terminals where Frankie Yale, a Johnny Torrio protege, held court.

As a teen, Capone worked at the Harvard Inn, a bawdyhouse in South Brooklyn’s burgeoning Coney Island, which is where he got his scar and famous nickname, “Scarface.”

Wanting to muscle in on “tribute racket” in North Brooklyn, (tribute is what the White Hand Gang charged all longshoremen to work) Capone and others started talking to stevedore employees, ship captains and pierhouse managers in the White Hand’s territory.

That did not make the Irish happy. According to family sources, Dinny Meehan, leader of

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“Pegleg” Lonergan and another on the cover of a Brooklyn newspaper superimposed over the Adonis Social Club (the blood trailing from inside to the curb)

the White Hand, dispatched his deadliest weapon to deal with the invading Italians in the form of Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan.

Pegleg (19 years old in 1919) had lost a leg to a Brooklyn trolley when he was eight. Renowned in Irishtown as a wildly successful fistfighter and a murderer who could kill without emotion, the war was set. Lonergan vs. Capone.

Torrio had moved to Chicago by this time and when he heard that Lonergan and the powerful White Hand were going to kill his most prized protege, he ordered Frankie Yale to send him to Chicago with his tail in between his legs.

Willie Sutton was born and raised in Irishtown. In fact, the opening words of his biography were “Irishtown made me.” Sutton went on to great fame as an ingenious bank robber and public personality. Having grown up in Irishtown, he got the inside scoop concerning the Lonergan vs. Capone rivalry. Below are his words:

“Scarface Al Capone was a member of the (rival) Italian mob,
and it was common knowledge in later years that he had gone to
Chicago because the Irish mob played too rough.”

The fact that Capone ran from the Irish in Brooklyn haunted him for many years and in Chicago, he was known as a brutalizer of the Irish (he had Dean O’Banion and others murdered). But he simply could not get over the japes about him running out of Brooklyn from Lonergan. He needed revenge.

In 1925, seeking the best doctors in the country for his son’s surgery, Al Capone came back to Brooklyn. On Christmas Eve, he and some buddies were having a drink at a local bawdyhouse called the Adonis Social Club in South Brooklyn (4th Avenue & 20th Street). Guess who walks in? You got it, Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan and some friends.

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Bodies being removed from the Adonis Social Club

Whether Pegleg was lured there, or just came by happenstance is up for debate, but the explosive results are not.

Pegleg and his cohorts were demeaning and shaming the Irish prostitutes that worked in the Italian club. They also were casting racial slurs at the Italian patrons. At some point the lights went out and immediately there were gunshots. When the lights came back on, Pegleg and two others were dead (Lonergan still had a toothpick in his mouth), another was badly wounded. When the police showed up, no one saw a thing, of course.

Capone and others were arrested, but were soon released. And so, vengeance achieved.

 

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Novel: Divide the Dawn

Divide the Dawn is a stand-alone historical novel for publication April 18, 2020.

Critics see this coming:

♠    “A brilliant story that belongs in the elite company of world-renowned classics like The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon and A Game of Thrones.”
(review from Anticipatience)

“Just as you are getting a feel for this story, a scene occurs that is likely to leave some readers catatonic with shock.” ~Anticipatience Review. From a shortlisted author comes the ultimate in historical crime fiction; endowed with suspense, mystery, horror, adventure, fantasy, surprises. . . Divide the Dawn gifts it all with striking ease.

Through winter’s barren trees the morning moon lurks like a portent of doom. Such is the prophecy of an otherworldly shanachie, or Irish storyteller who appears out of the mist in 1908 Ireland. We are then transported exactly eleven years later to Brooklyn, New York where the Irish-American gang known as “The White Hand” is fast losing sway over the streets. After a snowstorm blankets the city in white, men begin to appear who were thought to have been dead.

A dark action adventure with complicated characters caught in a fascinating period in history.

“Propulsive and affecting, Divide the Dawn is historical fiction with arresting language, yet the narrative hurtles forward with the intensity of a suspense novel.”

          Divide the Dawn is a Historical novel with elements of Crime Fiction, Horror, Suspense and Fantasy, but author Eamon Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch) is calling it a Ghost Story.

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Author Eamon Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch). Photo by Mitch Traphagen

“The ghosts of the old world haunt the Irish. History, myth, prophecy and even hope colors our forebears’ decisions in 1910s New York to create a character-driven account of the ancestors of 40 million Americans. Don’t be afraid of the dark, it’s there you’ll find the light.”

In the meantime, find character art & bios HERE.

There is also a Facebook page for HERE for updates.

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Oliver Cromwell – Ireland

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Black ’47 – Review

It is a rare moment indeed when a lie that has been passed as history can be righted. But B471that is exactly what Black ’47, directed by Lance Daly, has done.

For 171 years a lie persisted, and even though it cannot be fully overcome, at least the healing may begin.

What happened in Ireland from 1845-1852 should never be deemed simply a “famine.” It was no more than a blight on a single crop, the potato. The deep truth, hidden for so long, is that a cold economic program by a colonial power wielded the blight like a weapon against the Irish. To move them off the land. At the heart of this story is the horrific malevolence of the English foreigner and their true intentions to murder and displace millions of innocents. 

The enmity, trauma and dismay of the Irish people who suffered the consequence, as well as having to suffer the lies, are represented by the anger in James Frecheville’s seething character “Feeney.” And most importantly, that anger is righteous. Feeney is shown to have destiny on his side when he is utterly fearless as guns are pointed at him. When they misfire, destiny allows him to continue his revenge killings.  B47poster

Clint Eastwood was never this angry, and never this justified.

Please, please watch this movie. It is now available in Ireland & UK on Netflix.

A true ‘must see’ film.

Eamon

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Dinny Meehan – Divide the Dawn

Dinny Meehan – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Dinny Meehan, leader of the gang known as The White Hand (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin).

“Eyes green in the enveloped saloon light of amber and black. A child’s eyes. An ancient’s eyes. Sometimes I wonder if he ever really did exist, Dinny Meehan. I even doubt it at times, it was so long ago that all this passed. But there he is in my thoughts.”
~Liam Garrity

Dinny Meehan (b. 1889) is the leader of the White Hand Gang whose motives, origins and existence is shrouded by the veil of Irishtown’s Code of Silence. Some claim he is of gypsy blood, some call him a working class hero while storytellers describe him as a Demiurge, and speak of how he was summoned by pre-Christian prayer to bring back “the auld ways from the aulden days” to care for the survivors of Ireland’s Great Hunger who founded Irishtown in the 1840s. What is known is that he has never lost a fistfight, draws inspiration from the past and has never been seen eating or sleeping and seems to have no concept of time. His father came to New York in 1847 as an “exiled child” from County Clare, Ireland. His uncle was Red Shay Meehan, leader of a West Manhattan gang called The Potashes. But by 1900, Dinny’s family was decimated by the Hudson Dusters, forcing him to flee to Brooklyn as an eleven year-old with his dying father. According to The Gas Drip Bard, a storm came at dawn and capsized the ferry they were in, and young Dinny drowned keeping his father afloat. Somehow the boy was brought back to life and by 1912, Dinny had organized all the Irish-American gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront to join him in overthrowing the King of Irishtown, gold-toothed larrikin Christie Maroney.


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Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now: USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origin By the time Liam Garrity picks up the story, it is 1915 and the gang is under attack by many elements; big businesses, the Italian Black Hand, the law, the longshoremen’s union and revolt from within his gang. Liam sees that Dinny is cunning and shrewd, and yet the gang leader spends all of the profits he earns on the poor and needy of Irishtown. When news breaks of the 1916 Easter Rising, Dinny has ideas of his own for an uprising in Brooklyn. In a stroke of genius, The White Hand ferociously strikes against all of its enemies at once in multiple attacks and takes back power in Brooklyn during the Donnybrook in Red Hook.

Although the gang again is in power, Dinny cannot seem to stop time as the White Hand is one of the last powerful street gangs in New York. Again the gang’s enemies assemble against him when one of his dockbosses, Wild Bill Lovett, joins forces with Jonathan G. Wolcott of the New York Dock Company in revolt against him, seceding from the gang and taking the profitable Red Hook territory. Vulnerable, Dinny finds out his childhood friend Tanner Smith backstabbed him and his righthand The Swede attempted suicide. Again though, Dinny outsmarts everyone by making a three-way pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand and violently puts down the revolt. Charged with murder, Lovett agrees to a plea that sends him to the Army and World War I where he dies in combat. Dinny then replaces Lovett in Red Hook with his prodigious cousin Mickey Kane and robs a local shoe factory after an Irishtown child dies with one shoe on his foot, passing out boots to all the poor Irish families. But by 1919 Dinny is furthered weakened. The gang has lost many members to the Great War, the Spanish Influenza, coal shortages and worsening poverty. During the Storm of Slanting Snow, Lovett mysteriously resurfaces in Brooklyn and has Dinny’s cousin Mickey murdered, touching off a horrific gang war and a blood feud with Lovett.

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Mickey Kane – Divide the Dawn

Mickey Kane – Character in Divide the Dawn

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The heinous murder of Mickey Kane precipitates a blood feud and gang war (art by Thomas Kerr).

“Mickey is Dinny’s last surviving family member loyal to him. Tall and powerfully built with a big head of blond hair, he follows Dinny’s orders closely. Mickey Kane is Dinny’s blood. His mother’s blood, and many of us feel as though one day Mickey will replace The Swede at his right side. Dinny’s most-trusted.”
~Liam Garrity

Mickey Kane (1894-1919) was the cousin of White Hand leader Dinny Meehan, and the gang’s golden boy before being horrifically murdered when Wild Bill Lovett resurfaced in Brooklyn during the Storm of Slanting Snow.  Tall, muscular and dauntless, he was an accomplished bareknuckle boxer as many in Brooklyn spoke of him as being a “fair scrapper, brisk fighter.” A cousin on Dinny Meehan’s mother’s side, Mickey was spared the wrath of the The Hudson Dusters of Greenwich Village, who decimated the Meehan family in the late 1890s, forcing eleven year-old Dinny Meehan and his dying father to flee to Brooklyn in 1900. After Meehan became King of Brooklyn’s Irishtown in 1912, he called for his eighteen year-old prodigy cousin and mentored him in preparation to one day become his righthand.


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Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now: USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origins – In 1916, Meehan convinces Lovett to take Mickey in as his righthand in the Red Hook Terminal. Kane took part in the Donnybrook in Red Hook when the White Hand gang took back power on the Brooklyn waterfront.
In 1917, after Tanner Smith backstabbed Meehan and the White Hand gang, Kane accompanied his cousin back to their old neighborhood, Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The two of them beat members of The Marginals and confronted Smith, battering him as well and banishing him from the underground. After putting down a revolt and sending Lovett to World War I, Kane became dockboss of the profitable Red Hook Terminal. In 1919 when Meehan, The Swede, Vincent Maher and Lumpy Gilchrist were arrested for robbing the Hanan & Sons shoe factory, Kane and Cinders Connolly were left in charge at the Dock Loaders’ Club. But Kane became anxious and went back down to Red Hook during a terrible snow storm where Lovett mysteriously came back from the dead and had him killed, starting a ferocious gang war and blood feud.

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Bill Lovett – Divide the Dawn

Bill Lovett – Character in Divide the Dawn

The Black Hand sarcastically calls Bill Lovett “Pulcinella” because he looks like the crazy clown of Italian classical lore (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin)

“Ya know, people talk. And they’re sayin’ one day the gang could be all Lovett’s. Can ya imagine the take fer us if ya was his righthand? Like the Romans we’d live! But that Bill Lovett’s a wild one.”
~Mary Lonergan


Bill Lovett
(b. 1894), also known as Wild Bill or Pulcinella in South Brooklyn, was reported to have been killed in combat in World War I by the US Army. But during the Storm of Slanting Snow, he resurfaces in Brooklyn and has Mickey Kane murdered, sparking a gang war for leadership of the White Hand. He is a violent drunk who carries a loaded .45 caliber, has a soft spot for animals (killed a man for pulling a cat’s tail), and hates the Italians that live in the dock territory he runs. In the early 1900s, Lovett was the leader of the Jay Street Gang that paid tribute to Christie Maroney. In 1912 Lovett (along with many other gang leaders) struck a deal with Dinny Meehan and allowed one of his followers, Pickles Leighton, to accompany him in shooting Maroney on the streets of Brooklyn. But during the trial for Maroney’s murder, Pickles was the only one convicted. Rightfully blaming Meehan, Lovett swallowed his pride and took over as dockboss in the profitable Red Hook Terminal under Meehan’s White Hand gang, but decided to keep Pickles as his man inside of Sing Sing to one day supply him with paroled soldiers in a revolt against Meehan.


Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now:
USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origin – Realizing the importance of ruling Sing Sing, Meehan had his righthand man McGowan plead guilty to a charge in order to kill Pickles in Sing Sing, in what became known as the War for the Inside. But Lovett paid a screw (prison guard) through Pickles to beat McGowan to death in his cell, winning the proxy war and creating a tense relationship with his gang boss, Meehan. After the gang took back power on the Brooklyn docks during the Donnybrook in Red Hook, Meehan sought to weaken Lovett and pinned the death and destruction on Lovett’s righthand Non Connors.

When Connors is arrested, Lovett makes an alliance with New York Dock Company president, Jonathan G. Wolcott and plays a game of tug-of-war with Meehan over the loyalty of Richie Lonergan‘s crew. In 1917, Lovett has Lonergan murder Meehan’s enforcer Tommy Tuohey and together they secede from the White Hand gang in Red Hook, with Wolcott providing extra protection. Paranoid of a Meehan attack, Lovett goes on a drunken binge while Lonergan’s family life becomes tumultuous after his six year-old brother dies. Meehan makes a pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand, who send an assassin to Red Hook to kill Lovett. But Lovett survives and kills the assassin, yet is charged with murder and reaches a plea, which forces him to sign up with the Army’s 77th Infantry Division. In France during World War I, it is reported Lovett was killed in combat. His death causes of his followers to lose hope such as his biggest supporters Anna Lonergan and Darby Leighton. Shockingly, Lovett resurfaces in Brooklyn and gives Lonergan his .45 to kill Mickey Kane, Meehan’s cousin, starting a blood feud and gang war for control of the Brooklyn waterfront.

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Liam Garrity – Divide the Dawn

Liam Garrity – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Liam Garrity tells this story as an old man, but this depiction is of him as a teen in 1915. (art by Guy Denning)

“His uncle was Joe Garrity, the ILA recruiter who was killt after a melee in a saloon that was burnt to the ground in the Donnybrook in Red Hook, 1916, six months after the kid arrived.”
“So he murders his uncle and gains status, interesting.”
Exchange between Daniel Culkin and Jonathan G. Wolcott

Liam Garrity (b. 1901, County Clare, Ireland) also known as Poe or The Thief of Pencils, is one of the youngest members of the early 1900s Irish-American gang, The White Hand. He is the narrator of this story, which chronicles his treacherous journey in becoming the last shanachie of Irishtown. Inheriting an ancient oral storytelling tradition, he breaks the mold and vows to record what he witnessed: The fulfillment of an ancient prophecy that came to pass while he fought to survive in Brooklyn’s Irishtown.


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Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now: USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origins – In October of 1915, Liam is sent away from Ireland by his father to work with his uncle Joseph on the docks of Brooklyn. There, he experiences many setbacks when his belongings are stolen on the ship and quickly becomes homeless in Brooklyn after his uncle puts him out. When Vincent Maher finds Liam on the streets, the boy is starved and desperate, and takes him to the wake of Charles McGowan, gang leader Dinny Meehan‘s righthand man. Cared for by Sadie Meehan, he eventually is given work and initiated into the White Hand gang that controls longshore labor. To return the favor of helping him bring his mother and sisters to America, Meehan wants Liam’s uncle murdered.

Having been punched and bullied by Petey Behan, Meehan forces Liam to challenge Behan to a fistfight in order to save his honor. Loyal to Meehan, Liam looks up to the man who dedicates his life to the families of the survivors of the Great Hunger who settled Irishtown in the 1840s. But Liam sees gang members and friends murdered, others drafted and perish in World War I while their territory and incomes erode and his binge drinking becomes alarming. When Liam’s mother and sisters finally arrive from Ireland, he realizes he is in great danger. As the gang weakens, five major elements work against them: big businesses, the longshoremen union, Black Hand Italians, the law and revolt from within the gang. During the Storm of Slanting Snow in 1919, Wild Bill Lovett mysteriously resurfaces after having thought to have died, and murders Meehan’s cousin Mickey Kane, which will cause a bloody gang war, diminishing their power even further. But Liam has only scratched the surface of the meaning of it all when he hears The Gas Drip Bard tell a small portion of a prophecy the old storyteller describes as: “A song to divide the dawn, it’s called, ‘The Keening Croon and the Rising of the Moon.'”

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Mam Garrity – Divide the Dawn

Mam Garrity – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Mrs. Garrity, known as “Mam” has lost so much of what she created.

“May trouble always be a stranger to ye. Take this Saint Christopher. Put it in yer pocket and touch it when ye please. Ye’ll be grand with it.”
~Mam Garrity

Mam Garrity (b. 1878, County Clare, Ireland) is a mother caught between Ireland and New York who has lost so much of what she created: Two of her children died young, another was beaten by British soldiers and yet another seemingly lost to the streets of Brooklyn. She is closest to her two daughters, Abby and Brigid. Her husband is an Irish rebel who disappeared after the 1916 Easter Rising. Beforehand, she watched her son Liam off to New York to secure passage for America. But with British retribution for the Irish rebellion and World War I creating a blockade, she and her two daughters could not go until 1918. Leaving her eldest son Timothy on the farm, they moved into a humble but clean tenement. Now though, she sees that the gang violence of Brooklyn has changed her teenage son Liam for the worst and fears what price the family must pay for what he had to do to bring them to New York.


 

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Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now:  USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origin – In 1915, Mrs. Garrity is crying in the doorway of the family farm in Ireland and gives Liam a Saint Christopher for safe travel. Liam describes the moment as his mother giving him an “American Wake,” believing it quite possible that they would never see each other again.

After sending letters back and forth from Ireland to New York, she and her two daughters finally make the trip in steerage class. They are met at Ellis Island by Liam, who she has not seen in over three years. Liam and Harry Reynolds take them to Brooklyn in a tugboat. She is proud that Liam and Harry renovated a room in anticipation of their arrival. Noticing that Liam is in danger, she fears for what he has had to do to survive on the streets. She overhears The Bard of Irishtown tell the story of Dinny Meehan, who murdered a man to become a gang leader, and knows that her son is mixed up with the killer in the story.

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Petey Behan – Divide the Dawn

Petey Behan – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Petey Behan is a blathering rowdy and an accomplished cutpurse (art by Guy Denning).

“Petey Behan has short legs with a long torso and some power in his shoulders, thin hips and a box face with a mouth that never stops its blathering.”
~Liam Garrity


Petey Behan
(b. 1901), also known as Petey Cutpurse is a teenage thug and a rowdy. He is a follower of Richie Lonergan‘s crew.  By the time he was eleven years-old, he was a master at cutting the strap off women’s purses and running off with them. With the Lonergan Crew, he was the most accomplished thief of what was known as the Sands Street Gimmick. The Sands Street Station was a heavily trafficked three-story train station at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge close to Irishtown. A man once caught him stealing from his wife. At first Petey apologized, but when the man looked around for a patrolman, Petey punched him under the jaw, knocking him out.


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Historical novel Divide the Dawn is available now: USA – https://tinyurl.com/qrfgozw Eire & UK – https://tinyurl.com/tvkknel Canada – https://tinyurl.com/yxxwgoc9

Origin – In 1915, Petey was recruiting children at an abandoned building where many orphans were squatting. He sees immigrant Liam Garrity‘s stolen alpaca coat and rips it off his back, claiming that this is the rent he charges for staying in the building. After burning down a saloon during the Donnybrook in Red Hook, Liam attacks Petey and tears the coat in two.
Many White Hand gang members wake up in jail after rioting in Brooklyn. After being released, Petey blames Liam for helping gang leader Dinny Meehan frame Non Connors and punches him, but Liam runs away. Meehan then makes Liam challenge Petey to a bareknuckle fistfight to save his honor. Petey beats and bloodies the Irish teenager, but Liam does not quit, and repeatedly comes back for more.

 

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