Eoin Rua and Oaks siblings take top awards

IT must have been a close call but from a very strong field — where his main rival must have been Champion Stakes winner Windfarm — the Greyhound & Pet World coursing dog of the year award has gone to the courageous puppy Eoin Rua (Handsome Billa – Eoin Og), winner of the very competitive JP McManus Irish Cup at Patrickswell and the Keen Laddie Stakes at Clonmel.

The dog is owned by Caoimhe & Sinead Kelly, Nenagh, bred by Suzanne Kelly and trained by John Kelly.

The Bitch of the Year award, sponsored by O’ Flaherty Markets, Galway went jointly to the flying siblings, Qualityandgold and Chubbys Accord (Hilltown – Ardnalee Laura) who set Clonmel alight with their dazzling displays on their way to dividing the Oaks.

They were stamped as special after winning their Trial Stakes and landed some huge gambles in the classic at Clonmel.

The Pa Fitzgerald trained Call Up, multiple cup winner and Champion Bitch at Clonmel, must have pushed them close for the accolade.

The winning duo are owned by Murt Ryan and Laura O’ Meara, Nenagh, trained by Seamus and Catherine O’ Meara and bred by Catherine O’ Meara.

It was no surprise, then, that the Brood Bitch of the Year, sponsored by An Excellent Choice Catering Company, Cork, went to the pair’s dam, Ardnalee Laura (Tullamore- Tivoli Laura) who also threw three other Clonmel qualifiers.

No prizes for guessing The National Meeting Bookmakers sponsored Stud Dog of the Year.

Yes, it’s the imperious Hilltown, now regarded as the king of Clonmel. The Paul Matthews, Newry, owned super sire lifted his fifth award, and his main achievements this term were to sire the Oaks dividers and Champion Stakes winner. Add to that a host of Cup and Trial Stake winners.

The Irish Coursing Club Hall of Fame, sponsored by Brian Divilly, Claregalway, deservedly goes to the very popular Brian Tansey from Cavan.

The awards will be presented at a Gala function to be held at the Hotel Minella, Clonmel on Easter Sunday night, April 8.

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