Electric atmosphere in Curraheen Park as Rockybay Foley retained the Laurels

Electric atmosphere in Curraheen Park as Rockybay Foley retained the Laurels
Rockybay Foley (1 Red) got up on the line to pip Doona Buck (4) and Grangeview Ten (3) in front of a huge crowd at the Final of the Irish Greyhound Laurels at Curraheen Park. Picture: Mike English

THE final of the 2019 Irish Greyhound Laurels had it all.

Another massive crowd gathered at Curraheen Park, with top-class racing action throughout the night.

Prior to the €30,000 to the winner final of the Irish Greyhound Laurels, all the talk was about the big local favourite, Rockybay Foley. Trained by popular Cork trainer, Kieran Lynch, Rockybay Foley was sent to traps as the 7-4 market leader. The defending champion was bidding to win back-to-back Laurels and become the first greyhound to achieve the famous double since Mr Pickwith in 1998.

There was a great attendance at Curraheen Park on Saturday. Picture: Mike English
There was a great attendance at Curraheen Park on Saturday. Picture: Mike English

Owned by Chrissie Slyne, Rockybay Flyer took an absolute flyer of a start. The stand was in full voice when Rockybay Foley went around the opening turns in front. Grangeview Ten turned second but Foley soon raced a length and a half clear.

It all changed at the third corner when Grangeview Ten got a dream run along the inside to take up the running. However, last year’s champion wasn’t giving up, battling back on the home straight, the brilliant Rockybay Foley pulled out all the stops close to home.

Outsider Donna Buck came with a strong late finish and they crossed the winning line together. It took a while for the result to filter through but once people realised Rockybay Foley had won, the place went mad. Lynch said: “Beforehand it was one of the best finals on paper ever, it turned into an incredible race. I couldn’t tell the result from where I was. It’s a very special night. It’s incredible.”

Kieran Lynch, saluting his supporters. Picture: Mike English.
Kieran Lynch, saluting his supporters. Picture: Mike English.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy, who led the Friends and Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing that stepped in to save the event when the previous sponsor pulled out late, said: “This is a dream result and something to build on nationally, it is possible to do this and appeal to the grassroots again.”

Brian Collins, Cork’s racing manager, said: “The winner is a superstar, what a brilliant final. People bought into it thanks to Jimmy Barry-Murphy, it has become the People’s Laurels and there’s genuine love for it.”

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