Rásaíocht Con Éireann (Greyhound Racing Ireland) has announced the recipients of the Hall of Fame, Special Merit and Welfare Awards for 2020 National Greyhound Racing Awards.
Cork hurling legend Jimmy Barry Murphy is set to receive the Hall of Fame award.
Known for his long history as a GAA player and manager, Jimmy Barry Murphy is regarded as one of the most iconic players in the history of Gaelic Games.
To the greyhound racing community, he is known as a lifelong fan of greyhound racing and the man who spearheaded “The Friends and Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing Committee” in 2019.
This group were established to raise the sponsorship contribution for the Irish Greyhound Laurels.
In 2019 a newly formed committee, led by legendary Rebel GAA figure Jimmy Barry Murphy and called the ‘Friends and Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing’ made the decision to raise the sponsorship contribution for the Irish Greyhound Laurels.
After a local and nationwide “call to arms” to individuals and businesses, enough funding was pledged to not only guarantee the event for 2019 but for three years until 2021.
As Jimmy commented at that time: “I have long been a supporter of greyhound sport and felt compelled to step in to help Curraheen Park and its greatest competition in its time of need.
“Of course, it is the support of the greyhound folk and businesses which is key to making this work, but there is a great community spirit within the industry.
“I remember going to the Laurels on the old Western Road, and it has always had a huge status in the greyhound game in Ireland, second only to the Derby, and we’re very, very proud of that in Cork.
"I really felt that if the Laurels wasn’t maintained as the stake it has been in the past, we would all suffer, and the greyhound game in Cork would really die if that was the case."
Since then, Curraheen Park has hosted two fantastic renewals of the Irish Greyhound Laurels.
In fact, many would say they were dream results.
In 2020, Rockybay Foley recorded back-to-back Laurel's successes for Cork trainer, Kieran Lynch, the first greyhound to retain his title since Mr Pickwith in 1998.
Last year's event was won by Runninta Seeya, a first Laurels success for Cork trainer, Johnny Linehan.
To have a man like Jimmy Barry-Murphy behind the Laurels is unbelievable.
This will come as great news to greyhound supporters all over the country.
Jimmy Barry Murphy, who has legendary status amongst the sports enthusiasts of his native county, and beyond, recently featured on an Irish Greyhound Owners’ and Breeders’ Federation’s documentary series of videos which have been produced to promote the sport, Barry Murphy said: “The welfare of the greyhound is paramount in this industry.
"All I can speak of is the people I know in the game, and some of the most fantastic people and decent people I have ever been involved with in any sport are involved in greyhound racing.
“The welfare issue is a huge thing, because people in the greyhound game that I know absolutely adore their greyhounds.
"They’re treated fantastically. Nothing would come in the way of them being properly fed, looked after.
"The treatment and conditioning of them is second to none.”
The virtual gala hosted by Ian Fortune will be broadcast live on Sunday 16th May and will see the announcement of the 2020 canine winners.
The event will be streamed worldwide from 7.00 pm GMT on Sunday 16th May and all nominees will receive letters over the coming weeks detailing on how they can participate in proceedings.