Staker Wallace GAA club supporting Master Jingles
DOON’S Pat Buckley bids for a hat-trick of Con and Annie Kirby Memorial tiles this Saturday in Limerick Greyhound Stadium.
And, the Cappawhite based trainer does so with favourite Droopys Davy in the 525 Puppy Stake final.
But followers of the JP and Noreen McManus event will recall that each of the last three favourites have failed to lift this prestigious title.
The only locally owner finalists if Slippy Cian – owned by the Full House syndicate from Castletroy and trained by Graham Holland. This is the same partnership that has Clares Rocket.
On offer is €80,000 for the winning dog.
The semi-finals at Limerick last Saturday saw blistering speed from all 12 greyhounds but only 0.21 of a second separating the fastest two performances - the favourite Droopys Davy trained by Buckley and the Graham Holland trained Slippy Cian.
In the opening semi final, Slippy Cian was neck and neck with DaHeadHunter as they took sharply around the opening bend down the back straight.
On the final turn for the finish Slippy Cian showed his improving form by finishing just ahead in 28.42 followed by DaHeadHunter (28.44).
National hunt trainer Gordon Elliott had an extra reason to celebrate his Aintree Grand National victory as he is a co-owner of Master Jingles, also through to Saturday’s final finishing third in 28.89.
Fedamore GAA, paired with Slippy Cian will be confident that an upset could be caused in Saturday’s final for Cappagh GAA’s Droppys Davy, the outright competition favourite.
Davy showed exceptional speed in heat two leading in trap five from the off. By the third bend, Davy was ahead by three lengths before extending his lead to over nine lengths ahead of second place Blue East.
Droopys Davy exceeded his previous times in finishing 28.21 which will lead many connections of Cappagh GAA to believe they are only another 28 seconds away from Kirby glory.
Blue East paired with Caherline GAA and Lemon Shane nominated with Ballybricken-Bohermore, are also through to Saturday’s final.
The earlier Kirby rounds saw strong contenders eliminated through a moment’s bad luck, meaning all six finalists for Saturday could land the €80,000 first place prize.
The overall winning GAA 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.
The Kirby Memorial is named in honour of Noreen McManus’ parents who were regular attendees at the former Markets Field venue.
From an original entry of 72 greyhounds, only six remain with fractions of a second between their best performances.
Trainer Pat Buckley will be seeking a third consecutive Kirby title with Droopys Davy, the favourite for Saturday with bookmakers at 4/6.
Followed next is Lemon Shane 9/2, Slippy Cian 4/1, DaHeadHunter 7/1, Blue East 8/1 and Master Jingles at 12/1.
Since its inception, many of the great national champions of the past five years have been involved in the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial.
These include the winners from four out of the last five Irish Greyhound Derbys; Rural Hawaii, Ballymac Matt, Laughil Blake and Slippery Robert - all who commenced their racing careers with the competition.
FINAL: Master Jingles (Staker Wallace), DaHeadHunter (Castletown-Ballyagran), Lemon Shane (Ballybricken-Bohermore), Slippy Cian (Fedamore), Blue East (Caherline), Droopys Davy (Cappagh).