Conor O'Neill succeeds O'Sullivan as general manager at Punchestown
Conor O’Neill, the recently elected chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses and a former manager of Limerick racecourse, is to succeed Dick O’Sullivan as general manager of Punchestown following his retirement after 16 years in the role.
Richie Galway, racing manager at Punchestown during most of O’Sullivan’s time at the helm, will continue in the position on a part-time basis while taking on a more active role in the running of Jessica Harrington’s Commonstown Racing operation. Galway is married to Harrington’s older daughter Emma.
During his tenure O’Sullivan led Punchestown back from the brink of closure, overcoming serious financial difficulties and drainage difficulties.
He oversaw the extension of the Punchestown festival from four days to five, prize fund increases to over €3 million, with attendance records broken year after year.
In recognition of his contribution to Punchestown, O’Sullivan will remain in a newly created executive role as president of Blackhall Racing, Punchestown’s controlling company, and will continue to be involved in the day to day running of the business.
O’Sullivan said: “During my 16 years Richie Galway has been my right-hand man. He's proven to be an outstanding asset to our young vibrant team and the track is a testament to Richie’s dedication.
"The board agreed unanimously he was the logical successor, however family is the strongest bond there is and Richie has decided to join Jessie’s increasingly successful team at Commonstown. I'm delighted he'll be staying involved at Punchestown to continue to support our team."
He continued: “Along with Richie, I've been very lucky to work with the best team of people anyone could ever wish to have, and all that’s been achieved throughout my time is really due to their ability and hard work.
“The board was keen that my successor came from within the Punchestown team and we're so fortunate to have Conor O’Neill available to fill the role of general manager.”
"I've been privileged to work with the team here and will continue to support them in any way I can."
David Mongey, chairman of Blackhall Racing Company, said: “On behalf of the board of Blackhall and the members of Kildare Hunt Club I can’t thank Dick enough for the enormous impact he's had on Punchestown.
“In Punchestown’s 200-year history not many people, if any, have contributed as much to the racecourse’s success as Dick has. I'd also like to congratulate Conor O’Neill on his appointment.
"We're delighted to be in a position to have such a seamless transition and, while he has big boots to fill, he has everyone’s full support and I've no doubt Conor and the team will continue the good work done over the past number of years.”
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