Kerry's Eye Sports

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KERRY'S EYE THIS WEEK - Published Thursday 18th September, 2014

 

Jim O Gorman

Sports Editor

Email: sports@kerryseye.com

Kerry's Eye Sports Supplement

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Brilliant Ballymac Vic retires - or does he?

When the brilliant veteran tracker Ballymac Vic finished third in Saturday night’s Boylesports.com Irish Derby, everybody assumed that it was the final race for this lion-hearted 5-year-old.

However, owner/trainer Liam Dowling, revealed to Kerry’s Eye this week, that while Ballymac Vic’s future lies in the breeding paddocks, there is just a tiny glimmer that he could race one last time.

“I never like to close the book fully. He has definitely finished racing for the next two months as he will be busy at stud, because there is a huge demand for him.

“There is, however, a tiny glimmer - a slim possibility - that he could run one last time in the Night of Stars in Shelbourne Park on November 30th.

“We think he is still in racing shape. But, realistically, he needs a long rest as he is on the go for nine consecutive Saturdays and that takes its toll on a dog of his age. But if he sparkled around the time of the Night of Stars, we might have one last cut.”

Liam admits to be emotional about Vic’s imminent retirement and felt it last Saturday night.

 “I suppose he is such a dream dog, a pleasure to train, so genuine and honest with a lovely temperament that I don’t want it to end. This year, in fairness, was a bonus, because I was being told to retire him last year.

“He has already sired some good pups and Baile Mhic, trained by Mossie O’Connor, clocked the fastest time in the Puppy Derby on Friday night. So I am sure that Ballymac Vic will prove himself as a sire of a future derby winner and it might even be on the coursing fields.”

Kerry’s management have reported a clean bill of health ahead of Kerry’s Senior All-Ireland Final clash with Donegal in Croke Park on Sunday, opening the way to a full-strength starting fifteen for the big game.

Unusually, the Kerry senior team start as clear underdogs with the bookies, with Donegal being classed as odds-on favourites after their impressive demolition of Dublin in the semi-finals.

Donegal are 4/7 to win with Paddy Powers, while Boylesports have Jim McGuinness’ side at 8/11 favourites and claim, “Donegal’s display over Dublin has given them the edge over Kerry. It is hard to see past them.”

Boylesports have Kerry at 13/8, while Paddy Power is offering 11/8 for a Kingdom win.

But Kerry have revelled in their underdog status throughout the All-Ireland campaign, and will start on Sunday with everything to play for.  Hopes are high that Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s squad can continue to overcome the odds when the ball is thrown in at 3.30pm on Sunday.

The senior and minor teams are due to be announced this Thursday evening between 8.30pm and 9pm on the Kerry GAA website.

The only senior casualty from the weekend was Darran O’Sullivan, who sustained a facial injury, but his injuries will not have any impact on his ability to play a role in the All-Ireland Final.

Contrary to prior reports, the Kerry senior panel did not mirror Donegal’s pre-All-Ireland build up with an away trip of their own to Fota Island.

It was reported last week that Donegal were to hold a five-day training camp at the Lough Erne Golf Resort in Fermanagh, and that the trip is rumoured to cost in the region of €20,000.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice opted instead to base his side in Killarney last weekend, as the final preparations for Sunday’s encounter were taken care of.

At 1.15pm in Croke Park, Jack O’Connor’s impressive Minor squad face Donegal’s youngsters, who also beat Dublin in their semi-final.

This is the first time since 2006 that both Kerry Minor and senior teams will be in the All-Ireland final, while Donegal’s seniors and Minors will appear together at Croke Park for the first time ever.

Donegal will also have two brothers lining out - senior star Patrick McBrearty’s brother Stephen was man-of-the-match in the Minor semi-final.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

Listowel Races on track to break attendance record

The sun is shinning on the Island course for Listowel’s Harvest Racing Festival this week and while it has been necessary to water to ensure that the going is safe for the horses, it’s the only negative as the crowds and betting are all up on last year.

 Listowel Race Company director Pat Healy is delighted with the way the early part of the week has gone and expects things to get even better.

“It’s been a great start and we were up 500 through the gate on Monday and we had 4,500 people on both Sunday and Monday. The betting figures for both Tote and Bookmakers are also up so we are delighted.

“The ground, which was our main worry, is good to firm as we continue to water and we have a maximum field for the Kerry National. The owners and trainers are delighted with the conditions as it is basically good summer ground.”

Pat thinks that the most popular day could be tomorrow (Friday) which is Ladies Day.

“I am expecting about 30,000 people to flock to Listowel on Friday and the Ladies will be there in all their finery.

“It’s a special day for all of north Kerry, so let’s hope the sun continues to shine.”

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

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