George Deane Memorial Raceday, Sunday 21st June 2015

The ITHRF turf racing season is now in full swing and next Sunday one of the most prestigious events on the calendar the George Deane Memorial takes place in Dumnanway. George was the first president of the ITHRF and since his passing this heats and final classic has been run in his memory.

Born in November 1931 into a family of six siblings this hard working farming family resided in Knockeenboy just outside Dunmanway. As with all youngsters at the time George grew up and worked on the family holding attending school into his teenage years. His love of the land could be seen from an early age. Ploughing with horses in those days was common place and George quickly developed this great skill and as times changed tractors slowly replaced the horses.

Hunting rabbits and working on neighbouring farms earned George some money and eventually he bought his own farm in Moreigh with help from his father. In the mid sixties he married Monica and started off with a few pigs and cattle. As time rolled on he expanded his operation and set in place a breeding programme which was to become the envy of many in the area.

George had a great love of cattle and horses and attending the Agricultual shows and trotting racing were his two favourite hobbies. If he had no cattle for showing he would take up the Judges mantle and was regarded by all as one of the most shrewd when it came to awarding the winners Rosettes.

In 1980 road trotting looked in danger of extinction in West Cork and George was one of the leading lights on the Dunmanway Road Trotting Committee who staged a hugely successful meeting on Sunday March 23rd of that year. Prizemoney on the day totalled £450 which at the time was a record for this unique sport. This injected new life into the sport. The programme was run under the rules of The Munster Trotting and Harness Racing Association. At the time a second club The Cork County Trotting Association also raced in the region and in 1993 following power broking by some local businessman a new Club The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation was formed as it was generally felt by members of both clubs that the region could only sustain one united club. A strong voice was needed to take the seat as President of the new club and members from both the MTHRA and CCTA saw George as the ideal candidate to look after matters and he held that position up to the time of his death.

With a love for pacers George purchased a mare RIVERSDALE who bred three foals. HILOS RIVER ,HILOS DALE and LADY COMMANDER who all enjoyed successful racing careers. In latter years his health declined but was always a permanent fixture at road and grass meetings.

A man of great stature but very kind natured he was held with high respect with all that knew him. If George raised his voice to you it was only for the good of racing and with a shake of hands all was forgotten.

So Harness Racing followers will flock to Dunmanway next Sunday to remember a man who was partially responsible for ensuring the sport carries on yet another generation.

Racing takes place at 3pm in Dunmanway with heats and final of The George Deane Memorial handicap.

By Tim Kelleher.

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