Pat Guilfoyle, winning trainer of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2017, attended a special ceremony in Rhode this morning celebrating his achievement before a packed crowd of parents, pupils and fellow teachers at Scoil Mhuire Naofa, Co. Offaly.
A special plaque was unveiled on the wall to honour Pat’s achievement as he showcased Good News and two retired greyhounds, Jack (black greyhound) and Saorla (fawn greyhound) before the excited primary school students.
Pat Guilfoyle worked as a primary school teacher at Rhode NS for six years until June 2017 and was well known as a greyhound racing enthusiast among teachers and pupils. Scoil Mhuire Naofa is no stranger to racing success having honoured past pupil Pat Smullen in June 2016. Pat Smullen, who attended Scoil Mhuire Naofa from 1981 to 1989, was the winning jockey in the Epsom Derby in 2016 on board Harzand.
Trainer of the winning greyhound Good News, Pat Guilfoyle is brother to Sandra Guilfoyle, co-owner with Mary Kennedy of the competition’s top dog. Good News was the hot favourite on Derby night and did not disappoint, having stormed out of the traps from the start. Good News set a new record, completing the track in 29.37 seconds over the 550 yards.
Both the Guilfoyle and Kennedy families took home the €150,000 first place prize and have been celebrating amongst their communities since.
Speaking at the ceremony, Pat Guilfoyle commented, “I am overwhelmed by the welcome I have received here at Scoil Mhuire Naofa today and I want to thank my former colleagues for their kind wishes. Winning the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby was a dream come true for me and my family. I would advise all pupils to focus on their goals and work hard for them – anything is possible. Greyhound racing has strong roots in the Midland counties and I am truly humbled by today’s support.”
School Principal Mary Bray added, “Scoil Mhuire Naofa are delighted to welcome back a former colleague and showcase his achievement. Pat Guilfoyle was an excellent teacher throughout his six years here. Pat is remembered as a keen greyhound racing enthusiast and now serves as a strong ambassador to our pupils and community.”
Ger Dollard, CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board commented “I wish to congratulate Pat Guilfoyle on his major success at the industry's showpiece event, the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2017. Pat is a shining example of the greyhound industry at its best. The Guilfoyle family’s success is a measure of the passion and commitment that exists in the Irish Greyhound sector.”