2020 Review: Limerick sports stars celebrate memorable successes

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella



2020 Review: Limerick sports stars celebrate memorable successes

Rathkeale jockey Emmet McNamara partners the Aidan O'Brien-trained Serpentine to victory in the Epsom Derby in June

LIMERICK jockey Emmet McNamara enjoyed the greatest day of his career in June when claiming a stunning first Epsom Derby success in July.

Thirty year-old McNamara, son of Rathkeale-based trainer Eric and Paula McNamara, scored a thrilling front running Classic success on the Aidan O'Brien-trained Serpentine. 

The stg£500,000 Investec Derby is the most valuable race in Britain and the most prestigious of flat racing's five Classics.

McNamara produced a bold front-running ride to score a famous win in the famed Classic.
Serpentine and highly rated horseman McNamara had built up a huge advantage by Tattenham Corner, and the exciting colt was not for stopping, galloping all the way to the line for a thrilling five-and-a-half-length success.

After the race winning jockey Emmet McNamara said: “It feels surreal, really. I can't believe it. I hope Eric Mc (his dad) is ok at home, that he hasn't died of a heart attack or anything!

“It's unbelievable. Just a huge amount of thanks and gratitude to Aidan O'Brien and all his family. I have spent a fantastic six years there and to all the owners who showed a bit of faith in me today. 

“I really appreciate it, huge.”

Meanwhile, Limerick teenager Oisin O'Callaghan has won gold at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Austria in October.

The Ardpatrick man won the Junior Men’s Downhill event during the UCI 2020 Championships in Salzburg this Sunday morning.

O’Callaghan finished ahead of Great Britain pair Daniel Slack and James Elliott to win Ireland's first ever Downhill world title at the Mountain Bike Championships.

“I don’t think it has sunk in fully yet,” Oisin said. 

“It’s a bit overwhelming right now. Everyone has been sending me messages and hoping that I do well and I know lots of people were watching at home.”

Meanwhile, on the boxing front, Andy Lee's rising boxing star Paddy Donovan made it five wins from five in professional ranks in England in November.

Twenty one-year-old Donovan scored an impressive points victory over England's Jumaane Camero, 60-55), on the MTK Figh Night event at the Production Park Studios in Wakefield.

The Limerick boxer has looked superb in his career so far, racking up three knockouts in five wins.

2020 was also a successful year for Limerick trainer Pat Buckley who won the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby at the end of October in Nottingham.

The Doon native won with Deerjet Sydney.

The victory completes a treble for Buckley - now an Irish, Scottish and Derby winning trainer.
“This trophy is going back home to man and dad tomorrow evening. That's what it is all about - this is going back home to Doon,” said an elated Pat Buckley.

“That's the best half hour of my life," he said after the presentation ceremony in Nottingham.

Buckley's new star won from trap two and was priced at 11/4 for lucky punters. It was an Irish 1-2-3 in Nottingham.