Shelbourne Park GM Patrick Flynn admits to being “surprised but not shocked” by the announcement earlier today of the closure of County Down track Drumbo Park.
Although he has lived in Sourthern Ireland for many years, Patrick knows the place well having run it under its original title of ‘Ballyskeagh’ more than 20 years ago.
He said: “I would have been more shocked but for a conversation I had with one of the directors Michael McAdam more than six months ago when he mentioned how tough trading was.
“The reason that it is still quite surprising is because the three guys who own and ran it are all very successful businessmen in their own right. Some of their initiatives and promotions were absolutely top class. Nobody could ever claim that they didn’t give it their best shot.
“I think it only goes to show how tough it is when a track that is as well run as Drumbo cannot make it pay . There are so many overheads that the average person wouldn’t even consider before you get a customer through the gate, and you can only justify opening the facility for two nights per week.”
The news is better at Shelbourne Park with the track taking more than a year to rally after the protest closure in early 2017 – following the demise of nearby Harolds Cross.
Patrick said: “The attendances later in the year were very disappointing; so many people had got out of the habit of going racing. But we had a good end to 2018 and the best Christmas in many, many years.
“We are down to two meetings per week at the moment, but they are probably holding up as well as we might expect from four meetings, but without the extra overheads.
“But don’t be fooled. It is still very tough running a greyhound track and we are dependent on other things that we do with the stadium, including a car parking business, which brings in a significant six figure sum every year.”