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ANOTHER FiNE MAdNESS
Clive Gammon
September 06, 1971
Being the story of one Michael Brennan, an Irishman hooked on the dogs—he trains them on sea gulls and sherry and mud—and a Welshman with the luck of the Welsh
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September 06, 1971

Another Fine Madness

Being the story of one Michael Brennan, an Irishman hooked on the dogs—he trains them on sea gulls and sherry and mud—and a Welshman with the luck of the Welsh

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Greyhound racing is a very quiet sport. Nobody shouts "they're off," and there is little applause. And in this silent tension, Rommel came clear away as the trap sprang. "By Jesus, up and away like a cock angel," somebody near me couldn't help exclaiming. And I was thinking, I'm a jinx no more.

Just after that, something terrible happened. Rommel was in front at the first bend, a good two lengths clear. And then, just as he reached the sprint box from which they start the 300-yard races, he stopped dead for an instant.

"And then didn't you see the aul' hero," Michael was saying in the Greyhound Inn half an hour later, "the way he almost got in front again on the last straight! But there was no way through for him."

"They ought to do something about that bloody hare," said a sympathizer from behind his stout. "It was going slow, do you know that? The poor bloody dog stopped because he was windin' himself up to spring on the hare. He thought he was going to grab it."

" 'Tis the lights," said another apologist. "They had him all confused."

"Let me get you a drink," I said to Joan Brennan. I had considered other speeches, but this seemed the best.

"I'll have a gin and tonic," she said, "and a firm promise you'll not be within 20 miles of Waterford track next Saturday night."

So the last evening I spent with Michael was driving north up the valley of the Blackwater, the road a luminous green tunnel with oak boughs locking overhead and the sunlight filtering through. We were still debating the mystery of Rommel's weird failure. "He could have thought that the sprint box was the finish line," Michael offered. We pondered this in silence awhile. "Anyhow, the hell with it," said Michael suddenly. "We'll see how he goes at Waterford next week. He won't be racing too many times after this. He's getting on a bit."

We left the main road and swung down a lane where the green gloom deepened. "What will happen to him?" I asked, knowing the usual fate of a spent greyhound, the hole dug ready, the crack of a .22 in the morning.

"He's been a great old hero," Michael said. "We'll let him finish his time out easy on Brett's farm. It's all been arranged."

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