A MAJOR upset at the Puppy All-Ireland Draghunt as the Barry O’Keeffe-trained The Blazer of Shanakiel Harriers was crowned champion in style at Ballymacoda.
In good open country the winner who has struggled for points in the Cork association this season found the best turn of foot to see off the runner-up Maltese trained by Christy and Marie Keating of Kerry Pike/Fair Hill Harriers.
Puppy Maiden runner-up Lady La La from Trina and Ken Long’s Southern/Carrigaline Harriers kennel ran a season-best to snatch third ticket.
Rock On Boy completed a superb season in fourth ahead of Kerry entry Not Now Jake and High Miss of Griffin United.
The mood in the winning camp was one of elation as this hound was a 50/1 outsider but this kennel and trainer Barry O’Keeffe know how to send shockwaves as last season Captain James completed a similar feat in the Senior All-Ireland Draghunt.
“We are over the moon as we never lost faith in our hound's ability and although this win is a shock to us it’s a very welcome one,” said Barry O’Keeffe.
Although High Miss could only pick up sixth ticket it did manage to win the Puppy championship as its nearest rival Not Now Joy of Clogheen failed to get a ticket.
The Cork association would like to thank Ballymacoda Harriers especially Bart O’Sullivan for his tremendous work in ensuring this draghunt went off without a hitch.
To Stephen Beausang and Neilus Murphy for guiding the draghunt and finally to Ger Finn and the staff of Finn’s Tavern for their kind hospitality.
In the Open Non-Winners there was joy at last for Shanakiel Harriers trainer Mossgrove Daisy when she came home a gallant winner from the Donal O’Donovan trained High Miss of Griffin United.
The IHT duo of Black Stallion and Northern Daisy filled third and fourth tickets with Caoimhe’s Boy and Not Now Nelson the remaining ticketing hounds.
The winning trainer Barry O’Sullivan saluted the effort of his classy hound in the manner she landed the spoils.
“Mossgrove Daisy did one hell of a job today but she has been a model of consistency all season without having any luck and today was just reward for her consistency,” said Barry O’Sullivan.
The day was completed with winning hounds of the season doing battle and the honours went to the Damien Wade Clogheen trained Slievemish Spring.
Slievemish Spring is a very talented hound but in recent weeks lost his appetite for running and credit to his trainer he has persevered and hopefully, he is now firing on all cylinders again.
The Blue Riband draghunt will take place on Sunday next when Cloyne will host the Senior All Ireland.
On Friday we will take a look at the leading contenders as Barry O’Keeffe will be hoping to complete a memorable double for Shanakiel Harriers.