Longford Greyhound Stadium has been part of the fabric of the county town since 1939 and the venue holds special memories for generations of local people.
And last week’s announcement that it is to cease operations at the end of this month has evoked much sadness.
In addition to greyhound racing, the stadium previously played host to the Co Longford Agricultural Show, local soccer matches and the Community Games track and field finals, so it was very much a focal point.
It was also the venue for fundraising ‘night at the dogs’ events for numerous local clubs and societies and it is a revenue stream that they will sorely miss.
There were no secrets about the harsh economic challenges that faced Longford greyhound stadium, its management committee and Scottish based track owner since 2014, Howard Wallace, in their endeavours to keep the track afloat.
But nonetheless, when last week’s news broke, it represented a huge blow to greyhound racing enthusiasts, not only in Longford, but throughout the region.
Rising insurance premiums have become the bane of many organisations and in announcing the pending closure, Longford greyhound stadium revealed their insurance premium quote for this year was more than double the amount paid last year.
They further explained that even if the stadium could find the money needed to pay these bills, this would only be a short term measure without further financial assistance from the Irish Greyhound Board.
It was a stark scenario for those running the stadium to be faced with. Director Joe O’Rourke remarked, “I don't think people thought it would ever go, but we've been left with no choice. It is a sad day.”
Longford enjoyed a strong greyhound racing tradition, with the track being a signature ‘schooling’ track for young greyhounds.
Many greyhounds and their connections went on to achieve great things in the industry after laying down their roots in Longford.
Longford greyhound stadium has run its race but many memories will live on.