Age is just a number for Kilmallock's Crohane Ronnie

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Age is just a number for Kilmallock's Crohane Ronnie

Crohane Ronnie relaxing ahead of the Barking Buzz App Irish St Leger final on Saturday with Annie Byrne, daughter of trainer Declan Byrne

They say age is just a number – and Crohane Ronnie will prove that point when he leaves the traps in the €60,000 Barking Buzz App Irish St Leger final in Limerick on Saturday night.

Ronnie is four and a half years old – and it is practically unheard of for greyhounds of that age to be racing at such a high level.

Trained by Declan Byrne in Waterford and owned by Thomas Simpson in Tipperary, the greyhound was originally bred in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick.

Having gained over €25,000 in prize money throughout his career, Ronnie has won at eight different tracks across Ireland.

The IGB’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 aims to extend the racing life of all dogs, including Crohane Ronnie, from 4 years to 6 years. An initiative was introduced earlier this year to provide for more ‘veteran’ races at each track nationwide.

Trainer Declan Byrne commented: “Crohane Ronnie came to us at about 15 months old and he’s always been of a high calibre. I don’t know if he’s improved with age but he certainly hasn’t lost any enthusiasm! He has such hunger and his appetite for racing is unbelievable, even at the age he is now. He hasn’t lost that. He was third in the Cesarewitch in Mullingar earlier this year, but to be able to compete in a Leger final at four and a half is just phenomenal. He’d nearly open the door of the van for you to bring him racing!”

Declan added: “We’ve absolutely no plans to retire him yet either, he’s just enjoying it so much. After the Leger we’d hope to run him in the Night of Stars at Shelbourne Park on the 17th of November.”

This is Crohane Ronnie’s fifth final this year, having competed in the Cesarewitch final, the Golden Muzzle final in Limerick, the Tipperary Cup in August  and the Derby Plate final in September.

CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Gerard Dollard, commented: “It’s lovely to see a greyhound of Crohane Ronnie’s age competing in a Leger final, which is such a high quality race. His success demonstrates that older greyhounds can compete at the highest level and is proof of the IGB’s efforts to encourage veteran or senior races to extend a greyhound’s racing life. This is a key objective of the IGB’s five year strategic plan, launched earlier this year and has been very well received in greyhound racing circles.”

Crohane Ronnie will run from trap 2 in the Barking Buzz App Irish St Leger final on Saturday night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium. He’s currently 12/1 to go all the way with most bookmakers.