IT was never going to be an ordinary opening meet! Through the grapevine I had heard that a special presentation of a portrait was going to be made to senior joint-master David Lalor, long time stalwart of hunting not just in Laois but throughout the Ireland. David’s role in the hunting world has been pivotal and he is the current chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association.

The Lalor family have been associated with hunting in Laois since it was known as Queens County in the early 1900s. But it was David’s father Harry and uncle Dessie who took a leading role both as master and huntsman from the 1960s onwards. David would claim not to have missed an opening meet for close on 60 seasons. At the end of last season, he lost his best hunter, a chesnut by Ricardo Z, and in recognition of the loss and the sterling service of both David and his horse, members of the Laois decided to commission a portrait and present it at the opening meet.