Dog chat: Limerick opening a boost to industry
This is a big week for Irish greyhound racing. As the sport, indeed the country, endures a testing time, there will be a massive fillip when the magnificent new €20m Limerick greyhound stadium opens for racing on Friday night.
It has been a long time coming and it couldn't have arrived at a more significant time.
Yesterday, general manager Declan O'Halloran said: "The racing team has moved in, all the systems are in place and we are having two mock nights at the stadium. We will have four mock races each night that will allow us to test everything, from the operation of the traps, the track, the tote, the restaurant, the bars, the toilets, everything."
There will be a 12-race card on Friday, with the first race at 7.45. Racegoers can also enjoy the Puppy Derby final from Harold's Cross, while a massive projector has been installed to guarantee perfect viewing of the soccer clash with Russia.
Friday will be a busy night on the track scene, with the aforementioned Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby final at Harold's Cross and also the semi-finals of the Kerry Group County Championship at Tralee.
The Puppy final should provide yet other thrilling clash between the big two of Lolos Joe and Kerrydale Lar.
Lolos was clearly the master in the semi-final but Kerrydale walked out then and had to ride a bump and he should fare better from trap five.
It should be close but Lolos Joe gets the vote to win this for owner Ronnie Craven and trainer John McGee. Dream Walker may take the third spot ahead of Melodys Royal, Bling Bling Dano and Kielduff Merc.
On Saturday night the semi-finals of the Pat Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels will be run at Curraheen Park and will feature an intriguing clash between hot favourite Tyrur Enda and reigning champion Sevenheads Bay. The big guns in the other semi would appear to be Dalcash Cardosa, Tyrur Bucko and Tubbertelly Dubh.