CORK GAA legend Jimmy Barry-Murphy has launched the 2021 Irish Greyhound Laurels at Curraheen Park.
JBM, in his role as chairman of 'Friends of Cork Greyhound Racing', was joined by GRI Chairman Frank Nyhan and last year's winning trainer John Linehan with Runninta Seeya.
The first round of the always popular Laurels takes place on Saturday, September 25 with the final scheduled for October 23.
“The Laurels continues to be the highlight of the racing calendar for us here in Cork and has an impressive first place prize of €30,000 up for grabs," said the St Finbarr's club man.
"We believe that it is second only to the Irish Greyhound Derby, and we look forward to five weeks of top-class racing. Once again I wish to thank all of those who along with Greyhound Racing Ireland have guaranteed the prize-money for this Classic competition until 2023."
In 2019 a new committee, led by Barry-Murphy and called the ‘Friends and Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing’ made the decision to raise the sponsorship for the Irish Greyhound Laurels. A local and nationwide 'call to arms' was made to individuals and businesses and the response was phenomenal. Funding was pledged to not only guarantee the event for 2019 but, when all contributions were received, an incredible five years until 2023.
The committee gathered once again to launch and oversee year three of the sponsorship of the Classic.
Chairman of Greyhound Racing Ireland Frank Nyhan said: “I wish to pay tribute to the commendable work of the Friends of Cork Fundraising Committee who, with the financial support of Greyhound Racing Ireland, have guaranteed sponsorship of this prestigious event to 2023.
"We are very pleased that, with the relaxation of Covid restrictions, greater attendance will be permitted for this year’s event. Interest in the 2021 event is very strong and we look forward to an excellent event over the coming weeks."
In 2020 the final proved itself to be a competitive affair with the popular John Linehan trained Runninta Seeya winning after an exciting photo-finish final! This year an equally competitive event is anticipated.
The Irish Greyhound Laurels has a long and proud history in Cork, as the premier racing event of the year. It was run for the 1st time in 1944 in the old Western Road track over a distance of 500 yards.
The 2021 Laurels will run for five consecutive Saturdays from September 25.