Greyhound stadium steps into 21st century with new €1.5 million development

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

It possesses one of the best racing circuits in the country and Clonmel’s Greyhound Stadium will soon have the facilities to match when work on the new €1.5 million stand is completed.

The old stand, built in 1932, was levelled last month and the area around it cordoned off as the construction of the new stand, bar and restaurant began under the contractors Mythen Construction from Wexford.

“It’s the realisation of a dream that it’s finally happening”, says track manager Eddie Anderson.

The interior of the stand will be capable of accommodating 500 people, including 112 diners, and there will be standing room for 350 to view racing from the main concourse of the stand.

The other existing buildings, including the first-bend bar and Punters Rest restaurant, will be retained.

“It will be a huge plus for the town as an alternative entertainment venue”, Eddie Anderson said.

The enhanced facilities mean that the Davis Road track will be able to cater for a host of different occasions including work functions, birthday parties, anniversaries, stag nights, hen nights and Christmas parties.

“There are plenty of industries in Clonmel and people are travelling from the town to go greyhound racing in other towns and cities. When we have the state-of-the-art facilities they’ll have a top-class greyhound racing track on their own doorstep”, says Greyhound Stadium director Fred Kavanagh.

The free parking available at the next-door Gas House Bridge car park makes the track an even more attractive venue, while the Flood Relief Scheme has ensured that flooding from the nearby river Suir, which plagued the track down the years, is no longer a problem.

The new stand will be ready for next year’s National Coursing Meeting, which will be held over a weekend for the first time at the beginning of February.

Fortunately the work hasn’t disrupted either racing or trials and racing continues each Thursday and Sunday night.

The development is being funded by a €1 million grant from the Irish Greyhound Board and €500,000 from the Davis Road Greyhound Stadium.

People have the opportunity to invest in the development by purchasing shares in the company that operates the track, Davis Road Greyhound Stadium plc, at a reduced rate of €100 per share.

It’s hoped that the existing 750 shareholders will purchase one share each, while new investors are also welcome. Any money raised will be invested into the track infrastructure.

It’s envisaged that the new development will generate more betting on the Tote, which will increase the track’s revenue, with the possibility of the value of the shares increasing.

“We’re also fortunate that we have such a strong and active Supporters Club behind us”, says Fred Kavanagh.

The newly-developed track promises to be a very fine addition to South Tipperary, which is the home of the greyhound industry.