She was such a lady that she would have wished to remain neutral but if Una O’Sullivan, in whose memory this season’s Irish Cup was run, had been made to choose a winner it would surely have been Gigantor. A greyhound which was regularly schooled on the O’Sullivan gallop in Co Kildare and which also won the All Age Cup when Old Kilcullen staged their annual meeting for the first time on the O’Sullivan lands last December. No doubt Una was looking down on her family today as they presented the beautiful perpetual silver Cup to owners Paul Horig & Bridget Byrne and Sallins, Co Kildare based trainer Michael Murphy. For Paul & Michael it was their second Irish Cup in three years. However whilst Paul followed the success of Berlin Station via twitter in the Bahamas back in 2022, he was present in Patrickswell this weekend to enjoy it all. Also present was winning nominator and joint owner Bridget Byrne who was following in the footsteps of her late husband Patsy who took the Irish Cup home in 2008 & 2009.
A son of Newinn Wonder – Laurina, this litter comrade of 2023 Boylesports Derby winner Masonbrook Ger was himself unlucky to meet Ballymac Major in RD1 of last season’s Derby and indeed his first round this weekend was not inspiring. However once this big dog warmed to the task he was absolutely brilliant and a most worthy winner of coursing’s oldest Classic.
This season’s Irish Cup will also be remembered for the performance of Ballymac Zena, attempting to bridge a 62 year gap since Simply Terrific did the Oaks/Irish Cup double and 55 years since Tom Hayes won the triple crown of Derby/Oaks/Irish Cup in the same season. It was not to be but she lit up the stands today especially when getting the better of warm favourite Aristotle in the semi-final. She matched Gigantor for most of the way in the final also but the few extra turns in RD3 possibly took their toll.
Mon Petit (Newinn Wonder – Shalefiedwillow) came in from the reserves on Friday in the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stakes and this pup continued the great success of owner Sir Mark Prescott & trainers Michael & Mark O’Donovan (Tipp Town) at this meeting. Things didn’t fall right for her in trial stakes all season but this was her time to shine and in the final she upset the more fancied Zauberflute.
There was a great local win in the Dick Fitzgerald Irish Purse when the Boherlode Syndicate (all members of Limerick City coursing club) cheered home their pup Boherlode Bomber, in what was another upset against Coole Yeats. Boherlode Bomber which won a Reserve Derby TS at Macroom is a member of the very successful Blades Of Hope – Mulcahys Peak litter.
The Lennon family, Kilkenny were unlucky with Lemon Mozart in the Purse but had ample compensation in the Bill Chawke Irish Plate when Cut The Turf (Ballymac Best – Tilly The Tank) proved himself a very worthy favourite. Owned by the Castletroy Tank Syndicate and trained by Denis & Tom Lennon, this Walsh Cup winner had the measure of Pasatiempo in the final.
Sevenforseven, a track bred bought for Liz O’Dwyer, Co Carlow CC, as a 50th birthday present, proved himself well able for the winter game also with a great win over Fox Country in the Kyle Invitational Champion Working Members Stake. Remarkably the son of Broadstrand Bono & Swift Cigarette had no issue with running up the testing stretch four times today making it a memorable occasion for Liz, husband Paul and family.
And so concluded a most enjoyable three days. The hares were top class but they had to be with the prevailing ground conditions and no doubt no one will be more relieved than the Co Limerick CC working members that the meeting came to a very successful conclusion today. Congratulations to them and to all our winners and PG we will do it all again in 2024/25.