THE Chairman of Killarney Race Company, Gerard Coughlan, led the tributes to GAA legend Colm Cooper at a special ceremony on the opening night of Killarney’s July Racing Festival.
He said there have been many sporting greats honoured at Killarney Racecourse over the years, including Lester Piggott, Vincent O’Brien, Micheál Ó Hehir and jockey Jim Culloty, and it was another proud occasion to celebrate another true sporting great.
“There is no real need for me to elaborate on why we are honouring Colm. You could say it is our small way of saying thank you to one of the greatest footballers of his or any generation,” said Mr Coughlan.
Listing off Colm’s remarkable successes in the game, the Race Company Chairman remarked: “I don’t exaggerate when I say his achievements were great. Here’s a statistic that really has to be said slowly to be fully appreciated: In 85 Championship games, Colm Cooper scored 23 goals and 283 points for Kerry. That’s some going by any standard”
He recalled that Dr Crokes won their first All-Ireland Club title in 1992, on a day that Colm was their mascot, the team was sponsored by Dawn Milk and now, 25 years later, Dawn Milk is still one of the major sponsors and a generous supporter of Killarney Races.
“A great racing man and a regular here at Killarney Races, Colm was the most gifted footballer of his generation, one of the most stylish, intelligent and decorated players the game has ever seen and one hell of a nice guy,” Mr Coughlan stated.
A race was dedicated to Colm Cooper at last night’s race meeting and the winner of the Thanks for the Memories Colm Gooch Cooper Maiden Hurdle was 6/4 favourite Line Out.
Colm and his family were joined at the races by his Dr Crokes tea-mates who won the All-Ireland Club Championship on St Patrick’s Day.