I understand that Patrick Flynn left his role as Sales, Operations and Commercial Manager at Shelbourne Park on Friday.

Unfortunately, no other details are forthcoming and I understand that his departure is subject to a gagging agreement.

I am certain that this news will come to a shock to many thousands of people within the industry who have experienced the enthusiasm, knowledge and drive during Patrick’s 21 years with Bord na gCon, the IGB and Rásaíocht Con Éireann.

I first met the Northern Irishman through my Sporting Life column when writing about the stud dog Flag Star, who was owned by Patrick’s father.

Patrick remained in touch when appointed GM at Ballyskeagh from where he would regularly produce news stories for Greyhound Star. His future wife Sam also worked at the track and the pair eventually moved south with Patrick taking over at Mullingar and then Shelbourne Park.

It was while at Shelbourne that the couple established themselves as an outstanding management team. Despite cutbacks and serial mismanagement by the Irish Greyhound Board with its string of CEOs of various abilities and Chairmen of questionable knowledge of, or passion for greyhound racing, Patrick and Samantha kept Shelbourne on the road.

When questioned why she looked so weary on one Irish Derby Final night, Sam admitted that due to staff cuts the pair had been working until the early hours to complete that night’s race card.

This isn’t meant to sound like any form of obituary, I hope that Patrick and Samantha have interesting and lucrative new challenges in front of them and opted to choose their own career paths. All will no doubt seep out over time.

But a message to whoever is lined up to take over from Patrick – ‘those are very big boots to fill’.

Floyd Amphlett

Editor Greyhound Star