Authority continues to dominate the sport of draghunting with victory in the senior All-Ireland race

Trainer John O'Callaghan's hound has been the stand-out performer all year in the world of draghunting
Authority continues to dominate the sport of draghunting with victory in the senior All-Ireland race

Michael O'Connell of the Gurranabraher Credit Union presents the All-Ireland Senior Draghunt Cup to John O'Callaghan, trainer of Authority, also included are Darren Clarke, Brion O'Callaghan and Adam O'Sullivan, chairman of CCHA

AUTHORITY of Northern showed all his class to win the Gurranabraher Credit Union All-Ireland Senior draghunt at Watergrasshill before the biggest attendance of the season on Sunday afternoon.

It was double delight for trainer John O’Callaghan as he also tied for the Senior championship ensuring he retained his title.

Who would have thought one month ago and Authority trailing championship leader Slievemish Spring of Clogheen by 32 points that he would end winning the final four draghunts?

Make no mistake this feat is probably the best ever achieved in the sport and in fairness his quality and class saw him achieve it in the style of a champion.

The hounds were slipped on the Bartlemy Road before making their way to Dundullerick before heading for the vantage point on the Leamlara to Midleton Road.

Travelling at a decent pace they raced on to Knockraha before swinging back to the finish a total of 17 miles was covered in a time of 46 minutes by these wonderful animals.

Reports from the various 14 vantage points suggested the hounds were enjoying the open clean running with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions.

When the hounds showed on the skyline the winner looked to be in second place but as they got ready to drop in it was noticeable that Authority was beginning to take control.

Hounds are on their way in the Senior All-Ireland draghunt at Watergrasshill.
Hounds are on their way in the Senior All-Ireland draghunt at Watergrasshill.

On the race to the tape Authority was never likely to relinquish his lead with the runner up Jamie’s Lady of Clogheen from Aaron Freyne’s kennel running a fine draghunt.

Patrick Dillon from the Kerry association ran a superb draghunt to take third place with Dave and Damien Kidney’s Samantha’s Rose from the Southern/Carrigaline Harriers club securing fourth ticket.

Mayfield trainer Martin Wall has had a tremendous season with Jase Star and she ran another fine draghunt in fifth ahead of Thomas Canniffe’s Ranger of Shanakiel Harriers.

The scenes at the finish were naturally ecstatic as John O’Callaghan’s family and Northern Hunt members jumped for joy but for joint owner Darren Clarke this was a day to remember.

Darren resides in the UK and on each occasion he visited Cork Authority fell short but on this occasion his dream had finally been realised on the biggest day in the sport.

Trainer John O’Callaghan who has been runner up on five occasions in this draghunt was delighted that his hoodoo had finally been broken.

O’Callaghan said: “First of all many thanks to my wife Christine and family who has to put up with my obsession for 365 days of the year and to my friend Dave McSweeney and his daughter Ciara for the help they give me with my hounds.” 

Sharing the championship was the last thought in O’Callaghan’s mind a month ago but in his own words only a hound with the class of Authority could do it.

“It was an unbelievable recovery as I thought when I missed five weeks following an injury in April he was out of the reckoning but thankfully he found another gear when he got sight of the leader,” added John.

In the years ahead this win will always be talked about as Authority will go down as the one best finishing hounds that the sport has witnessed in modern times.

Senior All-Ireland Draghunt Watergrasshill: 

1. Authority (Northern Hunt); 2. Jamie’s Lady (Clogheen); 3. Jake (Kerry); 4. Samantha’s Rose (Southern/Carrigaline Harriers); 5. Jase Star (Mayfield); 6. Ranger (Shanakiel Harriers).

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