WHEN the great Senior All-Irelands of modern times are remembered, Cloyne in 2021 will be up there with the best.
First of all in times when the executive committee do not get much praise over their term in office lets praise the bridge as we cross it.
East Cork certainly came to the fore when hosting the Puppy All-Ireland at Ballymacoda last week and the latest meeting at Cloyne was right from the top table.
When arriving at last Sunday’s Senior All-Ireland I was greeted by William Kearney who was the landowner who allowed cars to be parked plus leave for the start and finish.
Explaining the course to me and what vantage points the hounds were crossing you could sense the pride he had in the work Cloyne Harriers had put in.
Amazingly in this 43-minute draghunt of 14 miles they were 13 road crossings that were all manned by various clubs and volunteers.
The great thing about draghunting is the decent people that have been involved for many years and to see Michael ‘Blondie’ Healy at the draghunt with his family after an absence of 28 years was a sight to remember.
‘Blondie’ a former member of Mayfield Harriers looked shocked with the number of well-wishers but the Healy name in this sport is one that was always taken seriously.
Brother Timmy who sadly lost his wife Marie in recent weeks was also present with his chauffeur and close friend Marguerite Busteed.
Since I first began going to draghunting 40 plus years ago the one thing that always strikes me is the qualities that these hounds possess.
Hunting aniseed oil and paraffin and running through fields and jumping ditches for 13 miles takes some going but thankfully the majority of these hounds are all given the required TLC they deserve.
So after another successful season the curtain has come down on Cork’s oldest outdoor sport.
Congratulations to all championship winners especially the Senior ace Authority of Northern Hunt who had a staggering 41 points to spare over the runner-up Samantha’s Lass.
I am sure trainer John O’Callaghan would have loved to have won the Senior All-Ireland draghunt but it wasn’t to be and now he will be setting out his plans for next season.
On a final note, a big thank you to secretary Troy O’Mahony whose diligence in sending photos of the weekly winners and Marie Keating for the points tally that ensures the column produces quality copy.
It has been a wonderful five months and to the trainers who didn’t enjoy success March 2022 is only around the corner.