THE reopening of Lifford dog track will be the “biggest boost to greyhound racing in Ireland in 50 years” according to one of the industry’s top professionals.
Former Cork GAA manager and now greyhound racing hall of famer Jimmy Barry Murphy was speaking following the deferral of a decision to grant the stadium a licence.
Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) officials met on Thursday night to discuss the application and are understood to be happy with much of what is being proposed.
But they have asked the business syndicate that recently purchased the stadium to provide them with more details before the application is rubber-stamped.
“The board met on Thursday. We have since reverted to Lifford on some queries and they have responded. We have also engaged with UK Tote. No formal decision has been made at this point,” said a GRI spokesperson.
Meanwhile it can be revealed that Harry Findlay is one of the key figures behind the resurrection of the Lifford track. Mr Findlay is a former owner of Big Fella Thanks, the most famous dog to come out of Ireland, and part owner of the racehorse Denman who carried his colours to Gold Cup glory.
Speaking to The Matchbook Betting Podcast Mr Findlay revealed that Cathal McGhee, a former owner of Lifford dog track, is part of the “big plans” he has for his new Donegal venture.
“When I first spoke to people like Cathal McGhee and Brian Jones a few months ago they were a bit down and didn’t think it could happen. But to hear Cathal now, it’s a different story. Like Brian, he has become a shareholder in Lifford Greyhound Racing Club and has already been in and destroyed all the weeds in the hare rail.”
Mr Findlay said the support from the local community has been “fantastic”. He added that he remains confident everything will be in place in three weeks time.
Jimmy Barry Murphy said it was “fantastic” that Lifford dog track is being revitalised.
“I’ve never been to Lifford but I know from talking to people that it is one of the great racing circuits in the world,” Mr Murphy said.
“It’s a fantastic, exciting project. I mean for the greyhound racing people in Ireland and the Greyhound board, to open a track in the present climate would be extraordinary.
“What a boost it would be to the north west part of the country both for greyhound racing and employment and everything that goes with that.
“It’s massive, the biggest boost to greyhound racing in Ireland in 50 years.”