Friday 22 November 2019

All kinds of everything in a labour of love

Longford grader Paddy Farrington is the youngest track manager in the country
Longford grader Paddy Farrington is the youngest track manager in the country

Paddy Farrington

I have loved greyhounds all my life and being racing manager at Longford is a dream job. In fact, it's not really a job for me – I look forward to coming in here every day.

When you have somebody like Paddy Jordan to meet when you come in, it makes things easy. He has been driving the hare here for 50 years and each day he has almost everything done for me.

Then you have the likes of Marcella Clyne, who drops in lunch to me every day. That's the way the people are down here – it is a very special place.

My grandfather Tom Monaghan always kept greyhounds and I walked them and went to the tracks with them from an early age. I owned my first dog when I was 12. It was a bitch called Clerragh Lass. I got her from Phyllis Jay and she was a decent little bitch with a lot of early pace. I got hooked.

I had dogs all the time until I got the job here on the track. After I left school, I worked with building suppliers and, for the last year or two, I was out on the road as a sales rep. Sport plays a huge part in my life as I play hurling, football and handball for my club Delvin, while I also play soccer with BMC.

I got married nearly a year ago and my wife Lizzie supports me strongly, as do my parents Paddy and Geraldine. It has all helped me to settle in to the job and I really enjoy it.

It is a great learning curve and, on any day, you could find yourself out driving the tractor, grading the card, arranging benefits, dealing with the financial side of things, all kinds of everything. It is challenging and that's what I like.

I have tried to bring new things to the track, to keep the thing fresh. Last year we staged the first sales here and it went down very well. We have also been pushing benefit meetings and we had 25 last year. They went down very well, too, despite our bare facilities.

We will be staging another sales on August 9 this year and it should go even better this time.

We recently staged a distance night and it was a tremendous success. It drew the biggest attendance for three years to the track and people brought dogs from all over the country.

For the future, I want to introduce hurdle racing and it would be a dream to have a restaurant here. My feeling is that our racing circuit is as good as any other track in the country and why can't we also have the facilities?

In the next few weeks there will be a sprint meeting and on the night of the Mick Powell Memorial final, we will have racing over all distances from sprint to 805.

I have fantastic support here. The committee is hugely behind the track and I have little doubt that the Supporters' Club is the best in the country.

No matter what you need for the track, they seem to come up with the money. The owners and trainers are brilliant also. They're not in it for what they can get out of it, but rather for the love of it.

With that type of support, how could you fail? It is a very special place, believe me.

* At 26, Longford grader Paddy Farrington is the youngest track manager in the country.

Irish Independent

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