Cork Draghunting: Day to remember for Griffin United

Griffin United were founded in 1927 and it was fitting in their 105th year of competing in the Cork City and County Harriers association that another major title was added
Cork Draghunting: Day to remember for Griffin United

Martin Wall and family with Jase Star of Mayfield Harriers, winner of the Non-Winners Open draghunt at Ballinspittle

IT was a day to remember for Griffin United trainers John and Sean O’Sullivan on Sunday last when they won the All-Ireland Puppy Draghunt at Ballinspittle.

It has been a good campaign for the O’Sullivan kennel as Sean T finished the season winning the last three Puppy Draghunts that set him up nicely for the coveted title.

The first six hounds in the All Ireland Puppy draghunt won by the John and Sean O'Sullivan Griffin United trained Sean T far right.
The first six hounds in the All Ireland Puppy draghunt won by the John and Sean O'Sullivan Griffin United trained Sean T far right.

Griffin United were founded in 1927 and it was fitting in their 105th year of competing in the Cork City and County Harriers association that another major title would be added to their trophy cabinet.

John Allen was their founder member all those years ago his initiative set them up for many years of draghunting.

Looking back their first Senior All-Ireland success came in 1935 when Ploughman trained by Gerry Walker scooped the big title.

For many years the club operated from their clubhouse at Strawhall Gerald Griffin Street but was sold in the noughties.

Many memories of that club room that was known as the Beagle Ballroom but such was the dedication of their former members they built it back in the thirties.

The late journalist Val Dorgan and his father were members in the 1950s and who could forget the legendary Dan Joe Kelleher? To name a few stalwarts Frank and Christy Corcoran, David O’Sullivan, Michael Joe McCarthy, Joe Mullane, Tommy O’Neill and Timmy Herlihy who sadly only passed away this year.

In 1983 was the year that brought great cheers on Cork’s northside when Griffin United won the All-Ireland Senior draghunt at Midleton.

Barrister trained by Tommy O’Neill and his son Tomas junior ran the race of his life and it was a fitting tribute to Tommy O’Neill who passed away unexpectedly 12 months later.

It is always nice to remember former and deceased members and the celebrations on Sunday evening was one to remember for John O’Sullivan and his son Sean.

“It was great and I almost forgot to mention my wife Allison who went through her share with illness in the last 12 months but is now thankfully on the road to a full recovery,” said John O’Sullivan.

So another Puppy season comes to an end and although Kilbrittain Girl was the stand our performer as champion in this grade Sean T won the coveted All-Ireland title.

The open Non-Winners Draghunt always attracts huge interest as just imagine competing from the first Sunday of March to the second last week of the season without getting any success with your hound.

That’s what makes draghunting all that bit more special as all trainers love competing and win or lose the majority of them get the same TLC.

On this occasion, the Martin Wall-trained Jase Star was triumphant when he saw off the challenge of the IHT Gerry Murphy and Sheila Cummins IHT trained Northern Belle.

The survival of draghunting will depend on young people getting involved in the sport and having grandson Jase Greene at his side all seems well that the Wall blood will continue in the sport for many years to come.

All eyes will be on next Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Draghunt when the John O’Callaghan trained Authority will be bidding for glory.

On recent form, Authority looks a shoo-in but his trainer John O’Callaghan has experienced four runner-up slots in this race and he will feel a change of luck in this race would be a welcome sight.

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