Dog fraternity stays on track

Members of the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company pictured on Shipquay Street in the early 1930s.
Members of the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company pictured on Shipquay Street in the early 1930s.
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The north- west greyhound fraternity have recreated a piece of Derry history as they handed in a petition calling for racing to be safeguarded for future generations.

‘Doggie’ men and women gathered on Shipquay Street yesterday to hand over the ‘Save Greyhound Racing at Brandywell, Derry City’ petition on the exact spot where their predecessors gathered in the 1930s to launch greyhound racing in the city.

Conor Coyle (fifth from right) from the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company presenting Cllr Paul Gallagher with a petition calling for the proposed redevelopment of the Brandywell Stadium to include the retention of greyhound racing. Included in the picture are greyhound owners and councillors re-creating a photo taken on Shipquay Street in the 1930s. Included in the picture from left  Cllr Warren Robinson, Darren McLaughlin, Cllr Sean Carr, Lawrence McLaughlin, Cllr Gary Donnelly, Michael McLaughlin, Patsy Doyle and Gavin Donnelly. DER4515GS017

Conor Coyle (fifth from right) from the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company presenting Cllr Paul Gallagher with a petition calling for the proposed redevelopment of the Brandywell Stadium to include the retention of greyhound racing. Included in the picture are greyhound owners and councillors re-creating a photo taken on Shipquay Street in the 1930s. Included in the picture from left Cllr Warren Robinson, Darren McLaughlin, Cllr Sean Carr, Lawrence McLaughlin, Cllr Gary Donnelly, Michael McLaughlin, Patsy Doyle and Gavin Donnelly. DER4515GS017

Front and centre of the old black and white photograph (inset) and pictured with the black greyhound was legendary local boxer Jimmy ‘Spider’ Kelly. The picture was taken outside the former Palace Theatre (where The River Inn/ Silver Street are today).

In the recreation yesterday, Jimmy Kelly’s great grandson Connor Coyle, himself an Irish international boxer and Commonwealth Games medallist, occupied the same spot.

A total of 3,051 signatures have been collected so far for the petition, Around 2,500 were collected in person, while over 500 signatures poured in from the global greyhound racing network, with support expressed from all tracks across Ireland.

The petition, which features the old photograph on its cover, was presented to Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher, Vice-Chair of Derry & Strabane Council’s Health and Community Committee.

The petition states that “the Brandywell stadium redevelopment must be viable for the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company to deliver racing in the City of Derry.”

The petition elaborates that ‘viable’ relates to timescales for redevelopment, costs and facilities which enable the retention of decades of greyhound racing to continue at Brandywell, adding that racing has been part of the site’s rich history since 1932, adding: “It is a thriving cross community sport that survived the Troubles and it continues to strengthen community bonds through their passion for the racing greyhound.”

It also states: “Greyhound racing is integral to the cultural experience that this great City offers.”