I’ve had a busy last couple of days but it’s given me some time to reflect on what was an enjoyable weekend’s coursing in Patrickswell. There were some excellent buckles, plenty of talking points and a fair bit to mull over before next year.
First and foremost, I should pay tribute to the County Limerick club for their hard work and dedication on putting on a well run and organised meeting. The club took their fair share of criticism after last year’s event but there was a definite improvement this year and I certainly enjoyed my couple of days.
Another interesting side note probably overlooked at the weekend was the performance of the pups in Limerick. With 3 of the 4 semi finalists in the JP McManus Irish Cup from the younger generation and all 4 of the bitches in the All Age Bitch Stake coming from the younger age bracket, next year’s is already shaping up to be a stunning season.
I know some people have their reservations about running the Irish Cup meeting after the National Meeting but I can certainly see the attraction. It will never be as well attended as the Clonmel but it offers something different, and a different test for dogs. I look at the Limerick meeting in much the same way I look at the Aintree Festival of the Punchestown that fall after Cheltenham in the calendar.
The meeting offers the juveniles a chance to meet more senior dogs and see how they compare and this year they seemed to compare fairly well!
The action itself
Carricktobin Lad of course stole the show at the weekend with an excellent performance that saw him beat both Hopes and Dreams and Killimor Matey enroute to victory. The unheralded Wexford owned dog finished the season unbeaten having won on his only other outing this season in Waterford. I look forward to seeing him again next season.
If Carricktobin Lad grabbed the headlines there were a number of other interesting subplots. From a sentimental point of view it was great to see High and Mighty and most likely Killimor Matey bow out while mixing it with some of the top dogs in the country. High and Mighty in particular put in a spectacular performance to run up the Woodlands Hotel Irish Purse beating the ante-post favourite Bridewell Kieran en route to the final. Here’s hoping the Tarbert trained dog has an equally successful career at stud.
There was also some redemption for a few of the dogs and bitches who disappointed or were edged out in Clonmel. The likes of Intacta Bamba who was beaten just up in the second round and Wilton Magic who ran below power in Clonmel put in excellent performances in Limerick. Pocketrocketben also used his early pace to thrived on the shorter field in Limerick and looks like he will be a force at All Age level next year given the right field. Make Peace too, a dog who failed to qualify for Clonmel showed a stunning turn of pace to win the Bill Chawke Irish Plate. He’ll certainly be going into my Fantasy Coursing shortlist for next year.
In the bitch stake Central Heroine, herself narrowly pipped in Clonmel gained a measure of redemption running out an impressive winner of the Patsy Byrne Select All Age Bitch Stake. All four bitches who reached the semi final look worthy of consideration for any shortlist for next season. The likes of Loyal Lyric could be easily overlooked but she accounted for both Bombshelriapants and Emmas Goldrush en route to the semi finals. That sort of form could well see her back in Clonmel next season.