Improving weather conditions lured punters back to the May Races in Killarney, Co Kerry, last evening.
Only die-hards had braved torrential rain which marred the opening of the three-day meeting on Sunday, with patrons seeking shelter in the stands, bars and any corner of the enclosure that offered cover from the elements.
Action from the Killarney Outlook Publications Handicap
Long-time Killarney Race Company chairman John Buckley said he could recall only one day previously when the weather had been as inclement for the early summer festival meeting. It was about 20 years ago and had resulted in a cancellation.
“It was unfortunate about the weather on the opening day, but we now have a lot of covered space with modern facilities for patrons who can stay inside if they want to, and still enjoy the racing,’’ he said.
Funds are being raised at the racing festival for the fight against cancer and half of the gate proceeds at this evening’s meeting will go to the Kerry/Cork Health Link Bus which transports patients needing cancer treatment.
John O’Riordan, Cork, left and Billy O’Flynn, Mallow, discussing the racing form at the Killarney Races May Meeting yesterday.
Friends of a deceased Killarney cancer victim Jeremy O’Neill, who are also fundraising, sponsored a race in his name. It was won by 25/1 shot, Kate’s Benefit, ridden by Davy Russell, who held off a determined challenge from Ruby Walsh on 11/10 favourite Whiteout.
Mr O’Neill, who died aged 58 last October, was a keen racing fan and had been a member of Killarney Racegoer’s Club for over 25 years.
“He loved everything about it (racing), the colour of race day, trying to pick a winner, the craic,” said a racecard tribute.
Through his involvement in the sport he also made many friends, some of whom are now actively involved in fundraising for cancer research and treatment.
Meanwhile, also at the races, free-takers from GAA clubs in the Killarney area took part in a Lá na gClub competition won by Lee O’Donoghue, who received €3,000 for the Glenflesk club in a three-way playoff.
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