Surf and turf meet on scenic Rossbeigh

Annual Glenbeigh races and festival attracts one of largest crowds in recent years

Horses and jockeys battle it out on the water’s edge
Horses and jockeys battle it out on the water’s edge
James Ryan and Patrick O’Sullivan check out the odds
Sinead Keating, Abby O’Donovan, Ava O’Leary, Ellie Cooke, Lisa McCarthy and Aoife Gray enjoying Glenbeigh Races at Rossbeigh on Sunday

Stephen Fernane

They say tide and time wait for no man, unless it happens to be at Rossbeigh Strand where one of the best horse and pony meets on the racing calendar grabs the attention.

One of the largest crowds in recent years made Glenbeigh their destination over the weekend as the historic event - first held in 1924 - paid its customary homage to racing, entertainment and family fun.

The first job of the weekend was the selection of the Festival Queen at the The Red Fox Inn on Friday evening.

Erica Costello  won the crown representing Sheahan’s Centra. The 17-yearold, originally from Cork, has relations living in Glenbeigh. This year saw the addition of a 5km family fun race, while the live music in the streets, bars and hotels also added its own unique atmosphere.

The racing attracts trainers from all over Ireland, with €20,000 in prize money on offer. The main race on Saturday was the Glenbeigh Derby (the Griffin Cup) worth €2,500. This was won by 'Half Price' who was given a strong and patient ride by the in-form Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Sunday's big race was the Glenbeigh Invitational, worth €5,100 to the winner. This is Ireland's richest race in the horse and pony circuit, and it went to Mr Bowen with Philip Byrne on board. It was a close finish, with the judges needing several minutes to announce the winner.

Daniel King from Kilbrennan, County Cork, was the meeting's leading jockey with four wins and four seconds. Moira O'Connor, co-organiser of the Glenbeigh Races, said the festival was one of the best in recent years, with crowds and horse entries up.

The marquee on the beach screened the Kerry minors' memorable five-in-a-row win. Commentary of the game was blasted out over the loudspeaker, which meant racegoers were able to share in the tense and pulsating final few minutes.

"The fine weather certainly helped, and it was a brilliant weekend. We're delighted with how it went," Moira said.

"Our main aim every year is to make the weekend a festival event. We have race owners from across the country that come every year, and they make a weekend of it; they enjoy the festivities. We're very dependent on our sponsors, and we thank them for supporting us. As long as they support us we'll try keep it going. They are the man driving force behind it," Moira added.