ONE of the biggest draghunts on the draghunting calendar will take place at Blarney on Sunday September 20 with the staging of the Singleton’s Supervalu Puppy All-Ireland meeting.
This is the eight year that northside businessman Tomas Singleton has come to the rescue with his generous sponsorship and the sport very much appreciated his loyalty and commitment.
The terrain will take in the course that was used over the last 21 years for the Donal O’Mahony meeting that has been cancelled this year.
The present pandemic has changed proceedings at draghunts for the remainder of the season as there will be no spectators allowed attend any meeting due the recent government restrictions.
Only trainers will be allowed at the start and finish of all draghunts for the remainder of the season.
Sponsorship is crucial to any sport and Tomas Singleton believes helping minority sports like draghunting is crucial particularly during these unorthodox times.
“When I was approached a number of years ago about helping out with the promotion of this sport I was honoured to help as many involved within the various clubs support me on a weekly basis,” said Tomas Singleton.
Draghunting is one of Cork’s oldest outdoor sports and Tomas believes its crucial that it remains healthy as it is part of the heritage of this city.
“Draghunting was always a popular sport in the sixties, seventies and eighties as many families on Cork’s northside and southside loved the outdoor activity and my family are proud to be associated with the sport for many dedicated members,” added Tomas.
Like many other sports this season draghunting has been affected as it began on the first Sunday of March and came to a halt two weeks later.
It was recommenced in June and with only five weeks remaining in the season chairman Damien Wade is adamant everything is in order to ensure precautions are kept in place.
Looking ahead to the remaining weeks of the season Mr. Wade believes it will still be a great days sport as he paid tribute to Tomas Singleton in helping the sport during difficult times.
“I think many sports are struggling to fundraise as GAA and many club lotteries cannot function with their premises closed and we rely heavily on a small number of people to keep our sport functioning,” said Damien Wade.
“Fundraising and getting sponsorship has become a serious problem and we are indebted to Tomas Singleton for his kind contribution to our sport.
“Media coverage is also crucial to minority sports and many thanks to The Echo sports editor John McHale who has helped us hugely over many years,” added Wade.
Since the resumption of draghunting many rules have been brought in to ensure the sport is compliant and clubs should remind their members that rules will need to be adhered to.
The cancellation of the Donal O’Mahony memorial meeting which was scheduled for Sunday was met with huge disappointment by many within the sport.
Outside of the three draghunts the annual Puppy Show that was organised for many years by Michael John Buckley of Clogheen was unable to take place due to the present restrictions.
Many of the draghunting fraternity were looking forward to the show this year as they are in the region of 70 pups registered for next season and it would have been a sight to behold with many kids enjoying walking them in the parade ring.
Indeed the number of pups bred for next season augurs well for the sport as its almost on par with the number they have competing in Cumbria.
The only way a sport can survive is by people consistently breeding hounds that ensures numbers will stay on a level playing field.
The late Sam Troughton the former trainer in Cumbria of Cartgate Laddie was once quoted about his achievements in the sport.
“To be honest when you have a good hound it is 85% luck, 10% dog and 5% trainer.”
Cartgate Laddie was champion hound in Ireland for four years and was touted as the greatest ever to run on Irish soil.
Troughton in his usual calm and collective manner summed up one secret that should work for the majority of trainers.
“If you are kind to your hounds, your hounds will be good to you,” said Troughton.
Sound advice from a hound trailing Legend!