• John Feeley Leopardstown Intern

    My earliest memory of horse racing was at the Galway races with my father when I was around five or six years of age. As he was always big into the racing scene, my interest grew through spending time with him both at meetings and watching it on the TV. As the years went on I found myself attending the Galway races more often as we were based only about 20 minutes away. Alongside this, I watched my uncle in various point to points over the years. He is based in County Clare, which is an area big into that side of the sport. Having a personal interest in those races helped develop my enthusiasm towards racing. I always enjoyed trips down to visit as I would get to spend time around the horses and sometimes be given the chance to ride them.

    It is no surprise to me that I have landed in the racing industry at this point in time. Having grown up with sports as a focal point, I get the sense that I may have felt out of place outside of the sports industry. While my interest and knowledge in racing may not be as extreme as many others who I have had the chance to meet here in Leopardstown, I am very comfortable spending time and working in an industry that plays such an integral role in Irish sport. Growing up I had a keen interest in many popular sports here in Ireland, and always played on at least two teams at any one time. While my main sport was always soccer, I kept a keen eye on the racing. 

    In terms of my education, it has been based around sport for the past four years. I have just finished a Sports and Exercise Management course in UCD. This course has led perfectly into this summer’s internship, having studied all aspects of running an organisation, but with an emphasis on the sports side of things. Leopardstown racecourse is an organisation in the sports industry which needs to be, and is managed by staying true to the many traditions and culture developed over years and years, but also keeping up to date with current trends in order to build on previous success. 

    During this summer’s internship, the focus has been on developing strategies in order to help grow the membership among the younger demographic. On July 26, we held an event which was the first of its kind, targeted at providing an enjoyable and valuable experience for the Club30 members. We invited all members of Leopardstown under 30 years of age, and granted a plus one to each guest. This exclusive Club30 event took weeks of planning and organising in order to firstly grow the guest list as much as possible, but also to ensure those guests got what they expected and more. 

    Overall the Club30 event was a great success and looks to be something that can be developed in years to come. In the weeks leading up to the event, myself and my intern colleague, Sophie Vard, had enormous help from the team at Leopardstown. As we were planning the event from scratch, we needed all the help we could get. We were extremely grateful to everyone who pitched in, from Lynne Kavanagh organising ticketing on the day to Lynn McNally liaising with the catering company on food and beverage. We also had some great help from the marketing team, who advised us on various elements such as email campaigns, social media, competitions, etc. 

    Something that I am very grateful for is the level of autonomy which myself and Sophie were given in terms of planning and organising the event. We were trusted to make many important decisions around all elements of the evening, which resulted in an opportunity to put our own stamp on the occasion. Overall, I feel extremely fortunate to have been given the chance to work in such a rewarding, fun environment and look forward to my final few weeks here at Leopardstown.