By Noel Dundon
The parish of Killenaule was celebrating widly at the weekend when the senior footballers won the South Final for the first time ever having defeated a fancied Moyle Rovers in the decider. And, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend. Skywalker Puma romped home to win the Irish Ladbrokes Derby in Shelbourne Park, thereby giving trainer Frances O’Donnell, a fourth Derby from their famed kennels in Mount Taylor.
Having had previous success with Batties Rocket (1995), Ardfert Mick (1991) and The Other Toss (1990) with Matt O’Donnell as trainer, Skywalker Puma travelled to the Derby from the kennel with much expectation of winning the €120,000 top prize for owner, Devon based, Ray Patterson and trainer Frances O’Donnell.
Skywalker Puma caught Cuil Cougar on the closing bend to win the Derby in a time of 29.39 - the fatest time of the four for the O’Donnell winners.
Last year’s winner Razldazl George was never really in contention in the race as Skywalker Puma returned a 2/1 winner much to the disgust of the bookies.
Remarkable scenes of celebration were witnessed in Shelbourke Park and the crowd swamped the presentation podium to see the trophy handed over. The winner is a June ’10 son of Royal Impact and Dianas Ranger and was bred by Paddy Purtill in Ballydonoghue in County Kerry. He was providing the O’Donnell kennels operated by Matt and Frances with their fourth Irish Derby success, not to mention the English Derby victory of Farloe Melody.
Meanwhile, far away in Kilsheelan on the same night, Killenaule’s footballers were making history as they defeated Moyle Rovers by 0-17 to 1-12 in the South Final. John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer was Man of the Match and as Captain Gerry Kennedy - former Tipperary hurling goalkeeper- lifted the silverware, there were fabulous scenes of jubliation
Not since the Derrynaflan hoard was unearthed, has there been as much excitement in the parish of Killenaule.