Brilliant return for Ballybunion Races

Young riders Dylan Browne McMonagle and Sam Ewing meeting up
on the beach before the first race of the day. Photo by Domnick Walsh
Young riders Dylan Browne McMonagle and Sam Ewing meeting up on the beach before the first race of the day. Photo by Domnick Walsh
The first race takes off. Photo By Domnick Walsh

Stephen Fernane

Horse racing returned to the golden sands of Ballybunion on Saturday following an absence of fifteen years, and while the prevailing mood afterwards was one of amazement that it had taken so long, the good news is the races are scheduled to take place again in 2020.

Saturday's occasion kick-started Ballybunion's summer season and but for a brief shower before the opening race, sunshine and a cool Atlantic breeze set the tone for an enjoyable afternoon. 

It made for a wonderful sight to see large crowds lining the beach. Spectators even overlooked the tide-dependant race action from the surrounding cliff tops on what was a great family day out. The star jockeys of tomorrow were on show and it was Cork native Daniel King who made headlines with a memorable four timer. Welsh jockey Ed Vaughan had a double; Dylan Browne McMonagle stretched his lead in the jockeys' title with a win, while Sam Ewing was also off the mark.

The occasion is thanks to the vision of Ballybunion Race Committee, who met back in December with the aim of bringing racing back to the popular seaside town. The committee contacted the Horse & Pony Association of Ireland, who were delighted for Ballybunion to host the meeting. Pat Kenny also did great work behind the scenes.

"It was great to have it back. We just felt there is such huge excitement surrounding beach racing that we wanted to see it return. Entries were high and all races were full," said John Farrell, Chairman of Ballybunion Race Committee. 

"There is a lot of planning and it's the volunteers on the day that make it happen.  "Our hope is to make it an annual event and we want to thank all our generous sponsors, Kerry County Council and the Red Cross, who have also been good to us," John said.

Kerryman

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