Cork greyhound Killmacondagh in frame for Irish Derby glory at Shelbourne Park

Cork greyhound Killmacondagh in frame for Irish Derby glory at Shelbourne Park
Irish Oaks winner, Killmacdonagh, winning, with a bit to spare in 29.36, Heat 3 Round 1 of the Shelly Fennely Memorial 550 at Curraheen Park in June. Picture: Mike English

AT around 9.41pm tonight, Killmacondagh will bid to create history by becoming the first bitch to win the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby since Spring Time won the feature of the year back in 1999.

Trained by Tracton trainer Kieran Lynch for Ballymacoda owners Tomas Leahy and William Hennessy, Killmacdonagh will run from trap one and looks to have leading claims of landing greyhound racing’s biggest prize, where the winner will bring home €140,000.

Generally a 4-1 shot those odds are expected to shorten in the lead up to the race. Earlier this week, at the Derby lunch, John Hyde, who was representing connections, said: “There will be bus loads leaving Ballymacoda in east Cork, and numbers could easily reach 130-plus. There are lads coming from England and others in the village have got the weekend booked off, as well as Monday and Tuesday.”

Connections of Killmacdonagh have enjoyed a year to remember and the star bitch has brought them on an incredible journey. Killmacdonagh has already won the €30,000 Irish Oaks, €20,000 Dundalk International, along with the Limerick Oaks and the Shelley Fennelly Memorial Bitch Stake. It’s another huge night for the training career of Kieran Lynch.

Over the last couple of years, Lynch has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading trainers. Just last year, Lynch trained Rockybay Foley to victory in the final of the Irish Laurels Classic at Curraheen Park.

Speaking from his Tracton base, Lynch said: “I’m just after washing and drying Killmacdonagh. I think she’s in better form this week than she was last week. It’s an honour to have a greyhound in the final of the Derby. We are all taking it in our stride. 

"The whole of Cork have really got behind us and both Tomas and William (Owners of Killmacdonagh) are very excited ahead of tonight’s big race. My best friend Gearoid Kingston is marrying Aoife today so unfortunately, I won’t make the wedding. I hope they will be watching us in Fota tonight. We are really looking forward to it."

It promises to be a marvellous final and if Killmacdonagh can produce her best start, there’s no doubt she has the pace and power to win it.

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