The final round of the Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix league at Banteer Gymkhana served up another thrilling competition in the 2014 series, with the result hanging in the balance right up to the end.
At the finish it was Tipperary’s Liam O’Meara who took the winners prize at Cork showgrounds with Zamir, while Francis Connors was crowned league champion and Seamus Hayes league runner up.
Course designer Tom Holden saw a large group of 14 horses and riders from the 32 starters make it into the jump off, including Connors and Hayes who had spent the entire season in a battle for overall league honours.
Seamus Hayes was seven points behind heading onto the final leg and although he finished ahead of his rival at Banteer, a fifth place finish for Francis Connors was enough to see him lift the league title for the second year in-a-row.
A superb round from Nenagh based Liam O’Meara with the ten year old Epilot sired Zamir saw him secure his first Munster Grand Prix win of the year and also cement his third place on the league table. O’Meara was the only rider to break the 40 second mark, coming home clear in 38.28 seconds with the Carmel King owned gelding who was previously ridden by Tom Foley and Jeremy Sweetnam.
Local rider Noelle Barry from Cork claimed a superb runner up finish with the nine year old Aldatus Z sired Norway Venture, jumping what was one of six double clear rounds in the class with the Yvonne Meaney owned gelding.
Winner of six rounds of the Connolly’s RED MILLS sponsored series during the year, Seamus Hayes filled third place at Banteer with the Jerry Sweetnam owned Corphin and having finished as league runner up, Hayes collected cheque for €1,000, while Tralee’s Maura Counihan took fourth place with Killerisk Minnie.
A fifth place finish at Banteer for Waterford’s Francis Connors with Oilean Uno was enough to see him retain the Munster Grand Prix league title, collecting €3,000 for his efforts.
Several top class performances during the year by Patrick Joyce from Killeagh Co Cork, including a sixth place finish in the final leg with Piltown S, saw the 19 year old finish as leading young rider of the series and he collected the Connolly’s RED MILLS training bursary which will be spent with one of Ireland’s top international riders. The talented young rider guided two horses through to the jump off and took tenth place with Dusty Dude.
Meanwhile Liam O’Meara was crowned 2014 Munster Greyhound Night 1.10m league champion, collecting the €1,000 first prize, just ahead of Blanch Sterling who collected €500 as league runner-up.
Results – Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League, Final Round, Banteer Gymkhana at Cork Showgrounds – 14 September 2014
1. Liam O’Meara/Zamir 0/0 38.28
2. Noelle Barry/Norway Venture 0/0 40.17
3. Seamus Hayes/Corphin 0/0 40.83
4. Maura Counihan/Killerisk Minnie 0/0 40.90
5. Francis Connors/Oilean Uno 0/0 40.96
6. Patrick Joyce/Piltown S 0/0 41.37
7. Francis Connors/Lates du Carel 0/2 55.89
8. Francis Connors/GRC Tadmus 0/4 38.24
9. Tadhg Beecher/Loughnatousa Eric 0/4 42.11
10. Patrick Joyce/Dusty Dude 0/4 42.57
14 Into Jump-off
Overall Results – 2014 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League
Champion – Francis Connors
Runner-Up – Seamus Hayes
Leading young rider – Patrick Joyce