Gay McKenna was an Irish greyhound trainer who won the Irish Greyhound Derby five times. He was considered the leading trainer in Ireland from 1960 until 1972.[1]

Gay McKenna
BornBirr, County Offaly, Ireland
Died10 September 2004
Major racing wins
Irish Classic wins:
Irish Greyhound Derby (4)
Irish Cesarewitch (2)
Irish National Sprint (2)
Irish Oaks (2)
Shelbourne 600 (1)

Early lifeEdit

McKenna was born in Birr, County Offaly. He operated his kennels at Cabinteely, Dublin.[2] He was introduced to the sport by his father Joe McKenna who had two finalists in the 1934 Irish Greyhound Derby and won the 1936 Irish Grand National.[3]


After many attempts, in 1965 he won the Irish Greyhound Derby with Ballyowen Chief.[4] He repeated the feat a year later with Always Proud. In 1971, Monalee Pride provided the third success for and a fourth and final win in 1972 by Catsrock Daisy.[5]

In addition, McKenna also won the Irish Oaks with Drumsough Princess (1965) and Rosmore Robin (1970), the Irish Cesarewitch with Postal Vote (1970) and Rita's Choice (1973), and the Irish National Sprint with Skip's Choice (1960).[6]

The four Irish Derby titles remains a record today equalled only by his brother-in-law Tom Lynch.[7]


McKenna died during the 2004 Irish Derby on 10 September. That final was won by Owen McKenna (Gay's first cousin once removed) and the runner up was trained by Fraser Black (McKenna's son-in-law).[2]


  1. ^ Comyn, John. 50 Years of Greyhound Racing in Ireland. Aherlow Publishers Ltd.
  2. ^ a b "GREYHOUND RACING: McKenna passing casts shadow over Derby finale". Irish Independent.
  3. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, page 311. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  4. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, page 90. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  5. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  6. ^ Barnes/Sellers, Julia/John (1992). Ladbrokes Greyhound Fact File, pages 142-143. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-22-8.
  7. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2002). Greyhound Annual 2003. Raceform. ISBN 1-904317-07-3.