THE first big draghunting meet of the season takes place on Sunday when the Munster championships will be hosted at Carrig na Bhfear.
The Senior meet will be the big race on the day and it starts at 9am and the Clogheen hound Slievemish Spring will be favourite to lift the coveted title.
Even the neutrals in the draghunting fraternity having been singing the praises of this magnificent hound in the manner he dismantled his opponents in his last two wins at Ballineen and on Sunday last at Fair Hill.
In my many years involved in the sport of draghunting the sight of a hound leading from start to finish is a rare sighting and Slievemish Spring is a sight to behold in the manner he runs.
Trained by Damien Wade Slievemish Spring is a deserving favourite but with the weather forecast for some very warm conditions and it is highly likely this race could be slipped early on Sunday morning.
Northern Hunt trainer John O’Callaghan also managed to train his hound Authority to consecutive wins in June but his problem seems to be his inability to get on the finish with the leading hounds.
When it comes to finishing a draghunt there are few if any in the association that can stay with Authority and his connections will be hoping to see him in contention.
Shanakiel Harriers have a useful trio in Mossgrove Lazy, Mossgrove Daisy and reigning Senior All-Ireland champion Captain James.
To be fair all three hounds have run reasonably well this season and it would be no great surprise if one of them came up trumps.
Dave and Damien Kidney of Southern/Carrigaline Harriers will be happy with the form of Samantha’s Lass and she is one that ticks many boxes in her bid to win this race.
Mayfield stalwart Son of Mossy trained by Kyle McCarthy is a genuine hound but maybe time has caught up with him as he is now running against younger opposition.
In a year where the numbers in the Senior grade are lower than recent years it has hard to look beyond Slievemish Spring.
The Senior Maiden grade has always a large number of hounds competing, and the present form kennel is Gerry Murphy’s of the IHT.
It has been a welcome sight this season to see the number of pups competing and on Sunday there will be two races with a Puppy Maiden draghunt added to the meet.
The Cork association will notify clubs if there is a change of times for this meeting due to the warm weather that is forecast for the day.
The contribution of the farming community is crucial to the sport of draghunting and association chairman Adam O’Sullivan would like to thank them for their goodwill in ensuring the Northern Hunt meet went off without a hitch.
Finally, this week condolences go to Bernie and Denise Rall of Mayfield on the passing of his brother-in-law and uncle Michael Fitzgerald.
May he Rest in Peace.