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Greyhounds: Dual-purpose Dundalk may set a trend; Irish View.

Byline: Michael Fortune

WHEN the Dundalk dualpurpose stadium was first mooted there were many knowing nods to the effect that it was another pipedream. However, Jim Martin and Leo McCauley believed it could be delivered and they were two very happy - and vindicated - men on Tuesday of this week.

Their dream, already half accomplished, moved a vital step closer to realisation when Horse Racing Ireland confirmed that it has approved maximum grant aid of E10.276 million for the project.

It is now getting on for two years since the new Dundalk Stadium opened for greyhound racing and it has been an instant success. Good attendances, a full restaurant and some fine racing has established the border track as one of the best in the country.

But there remained that empty space between the stand and the greyhound circuit, an awning gap in which Martin and McCauley fervently hoped would be shortly filled by flashing hooves.

Now the dream is set to be transformed into reality and the first horse meeting is scheduled to be staged in February 2007. Then we can expect to see horses and greyhounds running at the same venue on the same night, a veritable feast of entertainment for racegoers.

The bonus for the greyhound fraternity is that the already impressive facilities will be almost doubled in capacity, both inside and outside. This will mean more seating upstairs and more restaurant seats available and it also means that the big nights of the Boylesports International and the Bar-One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will be more comfortable for all.

A further boost is that the new Dundalk bypass is almost completed and it joins the Belfast road a matter of a few hundred yards from the track. It is an exciting venture, the first of its kind in this part of the world. Who knows, it could well be the start of a new trend.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2005
Words:318
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