by Rob Kane
About ten years ago this fall I received a pup from Henry Moore. The pup was for a stud fee from my fathers hound, IFC MIKE'S SURE SHOT PETE. The pup I called "Irish" was an ugly looking pup and my father was not really interested in keeping it because of it's looks, but I fell in love with it. I wanted to name it Kane's Irish Irishmen, only a nine year old would think that was a good name, but my father decided on KANE'S IRISH BEACH BUM, because he had come from Henry Moore in South Carolina.
I really liked this pup because it was the son of two of my favorite dogs to play with, Pete and a dog by the name of HENRY MOORE'S BETH. Beth was Henry's, but she spent about half of her life with us in Massachusetts. After about sixth month's Irish had grown up pretty well and was sent to Dexter Godwin, in North Carolina to be trained on cottontails. This was okay for me because I did not see him everyday anyway because my parents had split custody after their divorce in 1984.
The years went by and Irish was still one of my favorite hounds. Irish was placing in the trials, that I did not go to because the whole idea of field trials to me at that time was just pure boredom, sit around, and do nothing. In late 1993, my father noticed something wrong with Irish, he was not the same hound he was in the years past, he did not have the zip he had when he was younger, so he brought him to the vet. Our vet, Dr. Del Favro, said that Irish had a cancerous tumor on the inside of his eye and we had two choices, to either put him down or try an experimental surgery to save his life. My father chose the experimental surgery. The surgery was a success and Irish was to be housebound for the next several months and the vet would not know if he would be able to adapt to only having one eye. And the months went by.
Irish got his stitches removed early in 1994. He had not been on the ground since September of 1993 when he got 3rd at Eastern Mass., and this was the moment we had all been waiting for. My father and his girlfriend Sandy, took Irish along with his half sister, who at the time had 2 wins, named KANE'S IRISH MIST, to the Easthampton Beagle Club for a run. Irish was doing what he had always done before, except this time with his head a little cockeyed and very much out of shape.
My father was still chasing a win with Misty and he was handling a bitch by the name of TIMBER SWAMP ELLA GIRL and a male by the name of NORTHWAY ICE MAN for Al Costa, so he decided to bring Irish along with us to Miller's River. Irish didn't make the cut that day and I was a little disappointed. The next trial I was unable to attend because of a baseball game, and my excited father called me to tell me that Irish had gotten NBQ at Bridgewater. I don't mind telling you that now I was hooked, I had to go to the next trial where ever it was going to be held. The next trial was at Palmer and the bitches were traveling to Southern Mass. I had already decided to go with my father to Southern Mass, thinking how cool it would be if Misty or Ella finished. Therefore, Al Costa handled Irish and Ice Man. Misty was thrown out early and Ella got NBQ, so I was pretty happy. When we arrived back to Palmer to pick up Irish, who we thought would have been picked up, he was still on the ground with about sixteen others in the pack, they hadn't had a solid run all day long in the extreme heat and the dogs were just lying down. There was only one dog that had been giving a nonstop hunting effort since 8 A.M. and that was the one eyed dog -- Beach Bum. I did not believe what I was hearing, knowing absolutely nothing about trials, I kept asking myself "How could a dog with only one eye be winning a large pack field trial?." I was pretty excited and was wondering "Are all these people talking about Irish?". They were talking about Irish, and he went on to win the class of 31 hounds that day and basically gave me the love that I have for this sport right now. Irish received his first win at the same trial that Pete had finished eleven years earlier.
Irish went on to win another trial in '94, as well as placing 2nd at the 2nd Annual National Championships (the only hound in the top five with no title). But the magic was not over yet for Irish and I. The last weekend in March, 1995, a class of 45 big males at our home club, competed in the second trial of the season. Irish won and finished at this trial for his Field Championship title, the only time that we had ever won or placed at Easthampton's license trial. Irish went on to get NBQ at Holyoke, and 4th at Northampton-Russell on Easter Sunday. But still the magic wasn't over yet.
Misty had not yet finished. My father was still at Holyoke's grounds with Misty. I got there and he was telling me that he had thought he had heard her in there on every check, all day long, but a couple guys kept saying that the dog my father was hearing was their hound. They called the trial. We could not catch Misty and as we were leaving the grounds, but Misty appeared at the gate to the running grounds and she was very happy. My father told me that Bill McLaren was going to get NBQ, Misty was going to be 4th, and the three SPO dogs that had made the trip up from PA were going to be 1st ,2nd ,3rd. Anyhow, the chips fell and they called NBQ which went to Bill, 4th-2nd went to the SPO dogs, that meant there were three hounds left that could have won, two needed a win to finish. Jack Moynihan announces, "The big one, and I believe that this finishes the hound, KANE'S IRISH MIST!", my father and I jumped up, it had been two years since Misty's last win. Twelve years before this Pete had won his first trial at Northampton-Russell on Holyoke's grounds.
Irish had gone on to win one more trial, the Quebec Federation Trial in Canada, his only place in Canada. He was named the PVBCA's high hound for the year in 1995. Misty placed NBQ at the IBHF's Trial for Champions that summer. These were the last times they would place in trials. Pete died on Easter Sunday of 1996. Irish died February 14, 1998. Irish was only bred 5 times in his life. The hounds were TIMBER SWAMP LADY BUG, KANE'S IRISH DANCER, FC KANE'S IRISH MIST, Nr FC EXCELSIOR MURPHY BROWN, and EXCELSIOR SHINY NICKEL. He was offered at stud and we did not receive one phone call. I did get a pup off of every litter sired by Irish, only two of my pups have been run in trials, they both have placed, and they are only two years old. Irish was and is the only reason why I am in this sport today.