The new grandstand, which was officially opened last weekend, has been a boon to Clonmel’s Greyhound Stadium.
Attendances and bets placed on the Tote have increased in the past year, with more than €250,000 wagered on the Tote alone so far this year, an increase of €130,000 from this time last year.
The grandstand, built at a cost of €1.5 million, has been open for business since last January and was officially opened on Sunday night by Tom Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The Minister said that “these long-awaited new facilities are particularly welcome for those of us with a passion for this great industry”.
Clonmel was widely regarded by many as “the home of greyhound racing in Ireland”, he added.
Free admission encouraged an attendance of more than 800 to the Davis Road track on Sunday night.
The enhanced facilities include a 112-seater restaurant and standing room for 250 people.
Track manager Eddie Anderson compared the difference between the new grandstand and the former facilities as “like night and day”.
He hopes that the people of Clonmel and district will support a facility in the centre of the town that is open for all types of functions and parties.
Racing is held on Thursday and Sunday nights and staff are now preparing for two big stakes, including next month’s Sean Organ Memorial Bitch Stake, which is worth almost €4,000 to the winner, and the Munster Cup in October.
Minister Hayes praised all those involved in the development, noting that it was a “particular challenge to see the project through to completion in very difficult economic circumstances” and said that this feat was achieved “on schedule and within budget”.
He acknowledged the huge efforts made by the chairman, Donal O’Connor and the board of Clonmel Greyhound Stadium, as well as paying tribute to the instrumental role played by the Clonmel Track Supporters Club, who had made “a huge contribution through their sponsorship”.