Last night (20th October 2011), the 8th running of the Simon Kavanagh Memorial Greyhound Final took place at Enniscorthy Track – with John Doyle’s Kiltrea Ally winning the €2500 prize and trophy. Simon was my father and his family has funded this event in memory of his great love of greyhounds and for his lifelong contribution to the sport.
Joining in the sponsorship was the Moyne Veterinary Clinic, celebrating 70 years of continuous service to animal owners in the Enniscorthy area in 2011. Simon started the business from a small office in October 1941 as a self-employed vet and his son Joe carries on the tradition, having followed in his footsteps.
All through his adult life, greyhounds represented his abiding sporting passion and over the years, he owned some fabulous animals – Hurry Kitty, Paddy the Champion, Cross Mistress, Red Game, Aquaduct Lady, Aquaduct Rosie, Aquaduct Ruby and many more. Even with a very busy practice, he always made time to monitor their training and was regularly travelling the road to tracks in Ireland and the UK. He was also a renowned breeder of greyhounds and I, unwittingly, even got in on the act for him with far reaching results in developing a great breeding line.
As I was about to head off to meet my pal Mick Browne at the Ennis Fleadh Nua in May 1979, Simon asked me if I would mind taking his bitch, Aquaduct Lucy, to a new American stud dog called Sandman which was standing in west County Limerick. En route to the Fleadh, I dropped her with her temporary lover and collected her 3 days later on my way home. That litter proved to be the breeding bedrock of the Aquaduct kennels at Inglewood right up to the present day, over 30 years later. Star performers descended from that union were Aquaduct Tulla, Metric Deb, Metric Special, Metric Prince and Metric Tiger. The Metrics heralded a changing of the guard, with my brother Johnny taking over the training reins under Simon’s watchful eye. Johnny’s bitch Bedtime is a distant relative of Aquaduct Lucy, carrying on the breeding line for him.
With my mother Pauline, they had 12 children, who in turn have produced 27 grand children, as if a yard full of greyhounds wasn’t enough. He passed away in 2003 at 83 years of age but his own breeding line is unlikely to die out anytime soon.
Our family take great pride in keeping his memory alive and we turned out in solid support on a cold, wet October night with our mother, his devoted widow Pauline, who is enjoying a whole new lease of life in her 80’s.