Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Odds-on as BoyleSports takes up the reins of family bookies

They say that timing is everything in business and so it has proven for E. Hanratty Turf Accountant in Crossmaglen. Opened in 1934 and spanning three family generations the bookmaker business has undergone many changes since the doors opened 81 years ago.

Current proprietor Eugene Hanratty Jnr and his wife Teresa have 3 young children, Sarah, Eugene and Pearce and have run the “bookie shop” as well as a thriving Public House next door. With the advent of Sunday racing in the North, the prospects of additional hours and a 7 day week were not ideal for family life.

When multi-national and global name BoyleSports showed interest in adding to their vast portfolio by taking over the business there was extensive soul searching amongst the Hanratty clan with regards to a possible changeover. The only previous real changes to Hanratty’s was the introduction of SIS live pictures in 1987 and of course as young Eugene quipped the movement from the old grocery shop onto the “high street” in 1990.

Whilst the prospect of “more family time” for the Hanratty’s was foremost in their mind it was the approach of the Boyle family to their business that was the swaying factor. It may have been a multi- million pound global corporation in name that was doing the take- over but in essence it was a “man from over the road in Camlough” John Boyle, who began with a small village business in Markethill that was the deciding factor in the move.

Despite his meteoric rise in the business John has never forgotten his grassroots. In making Hanratty’s his third shop in Northern Ireland after Markethill and Newry he was guaranteeing that the tradition built up by Hanratty’s that   “the local village bookie” was a place for characters, craic, a meeting point and an institution, would be maintained

Peace of mind in knowing that, what 3 generations of Hanratty’s had built up, would be maintained and the only change is the name over the door helped sway the decision. But while the name over the door says BoyleSports it might be a long time till, or if ever, that the local reference will change from Hanratty’s.