Draghunt trainer John O’Callaghan saw his class hound Authority win the sport's biggest event

The Donie O'Mahony Draghunt sponsored by Singleton's SuperValu Hollyhill is the blue ribband event of the sport
Draghunt trainer John O’Callaghan saw his class hound Authority win the sport's biggest event

Authority, owned by John O'Callaghan of Northern Harriers takes the win in the senior race at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Tom and Tomas Singleton of sponsors Singleton's SuperValu with Gary and Joe Freyne and Maiden winner Zola. Pic: Larry Cummins

IT is every trainers dream to win the Donal O’Mahony Senior draghunt but when you have accomplished that feat on four occasions it is some achievement.

On Sunday last Northern Hunt trainer John O’Callaghan saw his class hound Authority win the big one in style and he believes the feeling has got better with each success.

In recent years John trained Milligan, Ash Tree and Audacity to success in this major draghunt but in his own words the latest success felt extra special.

O’Callaghan said: “I suppose looking back on the year despite the injury he picked up in April I am still over the moon with the efforts of Authority who is genuine hound.” Having been involved in the sport for 30 plus years John is a professional in the manner he handles his kennel as his hounds are always number one priority.

“I don’t think you will get success in any sport without the proper preparation and as I have done nothing else since my schooldays draghunting is certainly a big part of my life.

 Gary Freyne with his Maiden winner Zola at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins
Gary Freyne with his Maiden winner Zola at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins

“Thankfully I have a great wife in Christine who understands my passion and my great friend David McSweeney and his daughter Ciara are always on hand to help,” added John.

Like all sports winners usually get the majority of the accolades but let’s spare a thought for the Griffin United trainer Donal O’Donovan whose charge Little Miss finished runner-up for the second consecutive year.

Indeed Blarney is always a meeting that brings up some intriguing stories and let's salute the achievement of the father and son Clogheen training partnership of Joe and Gary Freyne.

At the beginning of the year, they secured a bitch from England called Zola and bred her with their own hound Overwater Roger.

The pups were born in April and in recent weeks they brought Zola back competing in the Senior Maiden grade.

No success for the Freyne team in the build-up to this race but patience is a virtue and it was rewarded when she romped home to win the Senior Maiden draghunt.

Well done to all concerned.

There was another story to go with the Puppy winner when the Stephen and Kyle Quilligan Northern Hunt trained Sally’s Girl scorched home.

This is the first hound the Quilligan family have trained and to win at one of the biggest fixtures in the draghunting calendar is a huge achievement and one could sense they enjoyed every moment of it.

For many years Michael John Buckley and Kenneth Lynch did all the work organising this draghunt but this season decided to take a break and many thanks to them both for their incredible work over two decades.

 Ava O'Mahony and her puppy Roxy at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins
Ava O'Mahony and her puppy Roxy at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins

For the survival of the meeting, this scribe made an approach to Christy Keating of Kerry Pike who duly accepted to help but without the assistance of his Blarney friend Mick Murphy, there is a strong possibility it would not have taken place.

The importance of having people with knowledge of the country in place for festival and major draghunts is crucial for the sport's survival. Many thanks to the farming community of Blarney and beyond for their cooperation in ensuring another great days sport.

 Nellie Moloney, IHT and Marie Keating, Kerrypike/ Fairhill Harriers at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins
Nellie Moloney, IHT and Marie Keating, Kerrypike/ Fairhill Harriers at the Donal O'Mahony Memorial Draghunt at Blarney on Sunday. Pic: Larry Cummins

Finally to Tomás Singleton a sponsor beyond belief whose generosity enabled the draghunting fraternity to have another year to remember at Blarney.

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