Greyhound & GAA communities herald the return of €180,000 Limerick event
The fifth staging of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial was launched at Limerick Greyhound Stadium this week, as supporters from the Greyhound and GAA communities came together to herald its return. The event offers €160,000 in Greyhound prize money, with €80,000 on offer to the winning Greyhound. Six GAA clubs will also share in a €20,000 prize fund.
The Con & Annie Kirby Memorial, sponsored by JP and Noreen McManus in memory of her late parents, begins on Saturday March 11th, running over five weekends to the Final on Saturday 8th April. First run in 2013, the event became an instant success, and is now recognised among the Greyhound Racing community as a great Nursery in the sport, a stepping stone for rising stars.
Since its inception, many of the great champions of the past four years have been involved in the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial. The winners of the last four Irish Greyhound Derbys, Slippery Robert, Laughil Blake, Ballymac Matt and Rural Hawaii, all contested the Limerick event in their juvenile year.
The event hasn’t yet produced an English Derby winner but last year’s winner Droopys Roddick was just beaten by fellow Irishman Jaytee Jet while back in 2014, Crokers Champ finished second at Limerick before failing by just half a length to win the English Derby.
Champions from all sectors of the sport have been Con & Annie Kirby Memorial graduates including Clares Rocket, legendary female Ballydoyle Honey, Oaks winning Witches Belle, Select Stakes winner Riverside Oscar and Derby finalists Cable Bay, Vulturi and Emers Superstar.
It is expected that 72 Greyhounds will be in the draw for the First Round on Tuesday next, 7th March. After the trap draw is made, each of these Greyhounds will be assigned a nominated Limerick GAA Club. As the competition continues, the nominated GAA Clubs will progress with them, until ultimately just six clubs remain on the Final night. Each of those clubs will then share in a prize fund of €20,000 - €10,000 to the winner, €5,000 and €2,000 to second and third respectively, and €1,000 to the remaining three finalists.
Speaking at the launch, Oliver Mann, Chairman of Limerick GAA said “We, the GAA Community would like to thank the generosity of JP & Noreen McManus for their continued support to Limerick GAA & including all Limerick GAA Clubs in this very prestigious event. When this year’s Final is completed, Limerick GAA Clubs will have shared in a €100,000 prizefund over the 5 years of the event. We’d also like to thank Limerick Greyhound Stadium in including a complimentary fundraiser for first place winners. We would like to wish all greyhound owners, trainers & Limerick GAA Clubs all the best in the upcoming event.”
To celebrate the five year milestone, a bonus offering of €5,000 to the last remaining Greyhound Bitch has been added. In the event of two or more bitches reaching the Final th
en the highest placed will win, similarly if the last remaining bitches are eliminated in the Semi-Finals, the fastest wins.
Speaking at the launch, Chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board, Phil Meaney, said “It’s a privilege to welcome sponsors JP & Noreen McManus, and this event, to Limerick Greyhound Stadium for their fifth consecutive year. At the launch of last year’s event, I spoke of the competition underpinning the future of our racing industry. Without a doubt that is visible today with the calibre of names on show who have gone on to make their mark on a national and international stage. With the addition of the Bitch incentive this year, the competition is growing ever more appealing to would-be contenders.”
Aside from the on-track entertainment, a number of additional events will run throughout the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial at Limerick Greyhound Stadium. These include a Banner Competition for the participating Limerick GAA Clubs, a colouring competition, a relay race and a Poc Fada Competition. For more information on the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake, please visit www.LimerickGreyhoundStadium.ie or follow the competition on social media using #Kirby2017.
With almost a week to go before the draw, the 2017 renewal, advertised for 72, had reached 75 and could now possibly be a six round event with a possible 96 runners??! *Not confirmed! Current entries below.
Chawke It Down
Cu Ui Neill
Drive On Tipp
Go On Ronnie
Its Rockin Jim
Ivy Hill Blitz
Song of Sixpence