THIS is the time of the year when hunts finalise their arrangements and appointments for the coming season. Tom Dempsey in the Galway Blazers, having hunted hounds for more than 20 seasons, has decided to call it a day and hand the horn over to Pat Costello who stood in for him during last season while he recovered from a fall.

Costello comes from a strong hunting tradition, his father Jimmy having hunted the Co Clare for several seasons. Meanwhile, senior master Michael Dempsey, now in his 92nd year, remains at the helm. He had carried the horn for well over 20 seasons before handing on to Tom.