*Tim Lucey, CEO , Noreen McMcManus and Frank Nyhan Chairman Greyhound Racing Ireland, attending the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial Quarter Finals. Photograph: Brendan Gleeson

ENNISTYMON’S Tommy Flanagan recorded a double success in Galway while in Limerick the shocks kept coming in the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial.

The opening round heats of the Ann Cheevers Memorial A4 525 Yards stake formed the spine of Friday night’s card at Galway Greyhound Stadium on a ten race card that had the concluding A3 graded 525 contest as the feature event.

As the traps rose for the feature contest Drombeg Bear was just about best away and racing towards the opening he disputed the lead with Ballyhealy Star. Rounding the opening bend Drombeg Bear took a couple of lengths out of his rival and at halfway he led by a couple of lengths. Between the final two bends the John Vaughan owned Ballyhealy Star began to bridge the gap to the leader and off the home bend Ballyhealy Star (Doratos Wildcat & Blundell Bridie) inch by inch wore down the pace setting Drombeg Bear to prevail by a neck at the line in 29.25 and complete a kennel double for trainer Tommy Flanagan of Ennistymon.

The double was initiated in the A7 graded third contest Clareabbey Bob stepped up two places from his debut outing as he made all the running to take this A7 graded contest by a length from Kitmins Betty in 29.33. Away well from his trap six berth the Clareabbey Trio Syndicate of Ennis owned son of Ballymac Bolger and Coolavanny Bondi eased is way towards the rail approaching the opening bend to lead round by three lengths from Kitmins Betty. Racing down the back Kitmins Betty gradually narrowed the gap but the winner held his ground at the third bend which proved vital as he kept on well in the straight to land the spoils.

Heat 4 of the Ann Cheever Memorial Stake went to the John Quinn of Gort owned Fast Fit Pennie (Doratos Wildcat & Fast Fit Maeve) who gradually wore down the pace setting Millroad Penny close home to prevail by three parts of a length in 29.43. Millroad Penny broke smartly on the wide outside and led by three lengths from Matilda Be Slick rounding the opening bend. Approaching the penultimate corner the winner began to edge closer along the rails. Off the home bend the leader swung wide and this allowed Fast Fit Pennie her chance as she swept through to lead close home. In the early strides of the S8 graded sprint contest Croaghill Archie and Cragmoher Lass were both away well with the former just leading by half a length racing towards the opening bend. Approaching the bend Glasheen Magic and Springwell Jax both came through along the rails with Glasheen Magic taking command at the turn. Tracking well, the Brendan Browne of Kilkee owned Glasheen Magic (Broadstand Bono & Glasheen Covid) drew clear in the straight to score by two and a half lengths form Cappaneale Bono in 18.28.

Trainer Albert Mullins of Gort was in the mark in the A6 graded ninth contest as his daughter Makayla’s Makaylas Dream led off the home bend to defeat Lady Eros by a length and three parts in 29.41. The winner, a daughter of Explosive Boy and Supporting Trump tracked Lady Eros around the opening two bends but she then looked short of room as Balroebuck Shadow slipped through on the inner at the third bend. Off the home bend though she found her space and quicken clear for a deserved second career success.

The quarter finals of the 2024 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial 525 took place at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night and such as the pattern of this year’s Classic, there were more shock results in terms of the heat winners.

Prior to the four quarters, the outright betting market had Droopys Metaphor, Da Bold Falcon, and Epic Chick share 6/1 favouritism, however, only one progressed into next week’s semi-finals as Epic Chick was forced to play second fiddle behind the fastest quarter final winner, Merits Inclusion.

As we are now getting down to the business end of this competition, an owner who knows what it takes to win a Kirby, having won on two separate occasions, is Brendan Matthews of Newry. The Northern handler was represented by Merits Inclusion in the third quarter final, finally got things right as he handed a comfortable defeat to 4/6 favourite, Epic Chick.

With the withdrawal of Serene Rex earlier in the day, the opening quarter final was a five-dog affair, and this saw Scooby Pacemaker come from off-the-pace to deny Romeo Kingpin back-to-back wins.

It may have taken a little longer than originally anticipated, but Ballymac Patriot got off the mark in the second quarter final as he too finished at speed for owner Liam Dowling. It really is testament to the greyhound that we are now down the final twelve in this €80,000 to the winner Classic, yet we are still waiting for the reigning Juvenile Classic champion to really click at Limerick.

While Graham Holland was busy recording a one-two in the final of BresBet Easter Cup at Shelbourne Park, Faypoint Sean (Droopys Sydney – Roaming Shari) represented his kennel brilliantly in the final quarter final.

After showing huge pace to come from behind last time out, Faypoint Sean was installed as the 5/2 second favourite behind Droopys Metaphor and he produced a similar performance to seven days prior as he again came to seal victory.

The action continues this Saturday night with the semi-finals of the 2024 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial. Doors open at 6.30pm and full details can be found on www.limerickgreyhoundstadium.ie.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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