Limerick hurling captain Declan Hannon at the Con and Annie Kirby launch
IT’S semi final time in the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial Stake this Saturday in Limerick Greyhound Stadium.
Twelve dogs and twelve GAA clubs remain in contention for top prizes on April 21.
The opening heat saw the elimination of Droopys Biker as he stumbled from the traps, although showing exceptional pace to finish in fourth place on the night. Biker was viewed as a strong favourite for the title after recording impressive times in earlier rounds.
The opening heat was won by Cash Is King in 28.75 which will please Cappamore GAA in their bid for the €20,000 club prize fund.
In heat two, the Graham Holland trained Slippy Cian, paired with Fedamore GAA, showed exceptional pace recording 28.48, 9.5 lengths ahead of Cliffords Pick (Mountcollins GAA).
Gold Cup 2018 champion, Chespirito proved another surprising exit after finishing fifth in heat three. Blue East, paired with Caherline GAA more than matched the favourite Droopys Davy (Cappagh GAA) as he finished in 28.62 ahead of Davy at 28.76.
Jaytee Taylor (Caherconlish GAA) took first place in the final heat, followed closely by Master Jingles, paired with Staker Wallace GAA.
The competition, which is sponsored by Noreen and JP McManus, now only has 12 nominated GAA clubs chasing a €20,000 prize fund while an €80,000 first place prize awaits the winning greyhound.
The overall winning nominator club will receive €10,000 and the opportunity to hold a free fundraising night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium. The nominator club in second and third position will win €5,000 and €2,000 respectively, with the three unplaced nominators winning €1,000 each. Over the past five years, Limerick GAA clubs will have benefited from €100,000 in funding.
Ahane GAA took home the €10,000 prize last year. Money from that win was put to the club's new dressing rooms, which were officially opened last month by new GAA President John Horan.
Sponsored by Noreen and JP McManus in honour of her parents, Con and Annie Kirby – the competition has the biggest prize fund in Ireland after the Irish Greyhound Derby, with a total fund of €160,000.
As part of the continuing Kirby Memorial link with Limerick GAA, the quarter final night also hosted a Limerick GAA Cic & Puc Fada Competition, co-ordinated by Noel Hartigan of Limerick GAA. The winners were Poppy Giltenane of Adare Camogie, PJ Griffin of St Senans and Adare GAA’s Darragh Gleeson for the Poc Fada.
The prizes were presented by Limerick senior footballer Peter Nash, from Kildimo-Pallaskenry.
The Kirby competition this year features the addition of the Sean O’Connor Cup, named after the late Claughaun GAA stalwart, player and referee. The Cup started on Saturday night featuring four heats of 24 runner-up greyhounds from the earlier Kirby heats.
Gerry Holian’s Burgess Paddy bounce back from his Kirby exit with a fastest of the round, 28.44.
Both the Sean O'Connor Cup and the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial semi finals will be staged this Saturday April 14.
KIRBY SEMI FINAL 1: Jaytee Taylor (Caherconlish), Da Head Hunder (Castletown-Ballygran), Slippy Cian (Fedamore), Master Jingles (Staker Wallace), Rocket Heart (Tournafulla), Cash is King (Cappamore).
KIRBY SEMI FINAL 2: Blue East (Caherline), Lemon Shane (Ballybricken-Bohermore), Pennylane Masara (St Senans), Cliffords Pick (Mountcollins), Droopys Davy (Cappagh), Bonus Point (Banogue).