Sunday 21 January 2018

A washout as rain puts dampener on Galway Races

Sarah Egan tries to hold on to her brolly as Naoimh Higgins and Aine Freeley, all from Claremorris, Co Mayo, see the funny side of it
Sarah Egan tries to hold on to her brolly as Naoimh Higgins and Aine Freeley, all from Claremorris, Co Mayo, see the funny side of it

Caroline Crawford in Galway

THE unrelenting rain put paid to the party yesterday as punters at the Galway Races ran for cover.

The diminished crowds cowered in the bars and the stand trying desperately to avoid the misery. But one person who wasn't hiding away was actor Paddy Courtney.

The Dubliner was celebrating after landing his own show with the makers of cult hit 'Shameless' and the rain wasn't going to stop his enjoyment.

Courtney, who played Milo in 'Shameless', so impressed the producers that they commissioned him to write his own show.

Provisionally entitled 'Spanner', it will focus on a mechanics' workshop in a Dublin backstreet.

"We've been kind of scribbling away on it for the last three or four years and then when I started working on 'Shameless' the people who make it, Company Pictures, were interested in developing it further," he said.

"They don't know whether it will be for Channel Four or Sky, they are the ones with all the money at the moment. So whoever will pay us."

The former comedian admitted he didn't even bother approaching RTE with the concept as the national broadcaster never had the funds.

"They have no money. Every time I talk to them its like 'Bring in your Trocaire box and empty it on the table and we'll try and make a show for that'," he joked.

"I've seen all different weather all through the years in Galway and I think they know how to have the craic regardless, so there's going to parties and poker games anyway," he added.

On the rain-soaked second day of the races, the only light relief came with a public announcement that the going was soft. It caused roars of laughter from the crowd.

The races have been dubbed Weld's Festival after the popular trainer ran off with the majority of the wins for both the first and second day.

But as the torrential rain continued the smiles were in short supply, seen only on the faces of the occasional lucky winners.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney was enjoying a flutter but he insisted he had no insider tips.

"I'm not a good man for tips I have to say. I'll be trying to get tips rather than give them I think. Any time I've given predictions at race meetings I've lost votes out of it," he said.


While the crowds were way down on the previous day as a result of the rain, those who did brave the inclement weather were determined to do so in style.

Brid Madden (39), from Moycullen, Co Galway, was dressed to impress despite the rain.

"I always dress up for the races. I love clothes so it's a great excuse," she said.

Suellen Scahill (32), from Ballybrit, grew up with the races and comes dressed to the nines for every meet.

"I used to come over the wall and climb in when I was young. I come every year but I've only been dressing up for the past five years," she said.

But despite their love of fashion, neither Suellen nor Brid has any intention of turning out for Ladies Day.

"I won't even be here. It's not about winning any Ladies Day prizes, I just love dressing up. It's all part of the races and the horses, if I win the price of the hat I'll be happy," said Suellen.

Irish Independent

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