When talk goes to the dogs in the Castleisland area, the names of notable trainers and of their famous charges roll off the tongues of the initiated.
They’re called ‘Doggy Men’ here and you’ll hear the names of : Michael ‘Mickey’ Murphy, Timmy Nolan, Noel Browne, Tomo Burke, Bobby O’Connell, John Curtin, Paddy Begley, Mossie O’Connor, Jerh Kerins, Mossie Leane, Moss Jones, Pat O’Sullivan and many more.
Talk will Switch
The talk will switch from coursing to track and back again and, between times and traps and slips and turns and flags aloft, you’ll hear the names of the greats like: Martry Scotch, Autumn Crystal, Knockdown Ash, Trajectory, Pyramid Club, Donovan’s Ranger, Adraville Bridge and Quiet Dandy.
Only last year we had the excitement of Midtown Raffa until injury put an end to a promising career. There are track and coursing dogs mixed in that list now – you understand.
Unless you’re one of them you have no business entering the fray. An early morning bus left from outside Skevenas Bar one morning a good few Clonmels ago. On board were the aficionados from Skevenas and Sheila Prendiville’s next door.
From listening to the preamble of the previous weeks I took a patriotic if vague interest in the fortunes of a local dog and its handlers and hoped for the best for them. Texts were not quite all the go then and news from Clonmel was scarce on d-day evening. That in itself was not a good sign.
I dropped into Sheila’s on the evening of the final and the lady herself was behind the counter. I asked her if she had heard anything from our friends in Clonmel. And, cross my heart, Sheila looked me in the eye and said: ‘He did no good. I think he came sixth.” Sheila was not a doggy woman.
Boyle Sports Derby
It’s against that kind of backdrop that Noel Browne and Michael Broderick were being spoken about on Sunday evening in Castleisland. Coolavanny Bingo had done the business in the Boyle Sports Derby in Clonmel earlier that day.
The dark patch in the backdrop was that the Clonmel crowd brought back the sad news of Knockachur native, Mike Reidy’s sudden passing in Tipperary earlier that day.
In any language that victory is the doggy equivalent of an All-Ireland football title. And that victory by dog and men will ensure they become part of the rich history and fabric of conversation when talk goes to the dogs in the Castleisland area.