NSC 2023 TAKES PLACE AT THE SHEEP 2023 EVENT, GURTEEN
The Suffolk Sheep Society South of Ireland were delighted to be a part of the Sheep 2023 Event held on Saturday June 17th in Gurteen Agricultural College. Irish Suffolk Breeders came out in their droves to be a part of the National Suffolk Championships. The event was again sponsored by Connolly’s Redmills and we would like to express our sincere gratitude to them for their support.
While the weather was very inclement as breeders arrived with their stock, thankfully, the sun came out from the clouds and shone for the entire Suffolk judging.
Judge for the day was Mr. Martin Butler of the acclaimed Castlewood Flock, Ballymena and he was faced with some very difficult choices in each class.
Judging commenced with the Shearling Ram & upwards class with some very strong rams on display. It was Philip Lynch’s Clyda Awesome stock ram sired by Ballinatone BT Buddy who claimed the top spot with Susan O’Keefe claiming the reserve spot.
In the Aged Ewe class, Susan O’Keeffe dominated the field with her ewe which was sired by Castleisle Kilteskin Prince out of a Cairness ewe. This same female had taken the Champion Spot at the National Championshipsin 2022 and she caught the judge’s eye again this year, claiming the red rosette over a very smart ewe from John Molloy’s Glencolmcille Flock.
The Shearling Ewe Class was an exceptional class with almost 25 of the top breeding Shearlings in the country on show. Martin Butler had an extremely difficult task to whittle them down. In the final line-up however, it was Susan O’Keeffe who once again claimed the top spot with a very smart ewe once again, sired by Ballinatone BT Buddy. Reserve in this class remined in the family with Arthur O’Keeffe claiming the reserve spot.
The Novice Ewe lamb class was a stylish affair with the Doherty Brothers from Malinhead dominating a strong class. Emerging as Champion and reserve in the class were two full sisters sired by Crewelands Dancing Brave from a home bred Malinhead ewe.
These two sisters then went on to compete in the Open Ewe Lamb class where one claimed the red rosette and a very smart lamb from the Clyda Flock of Susan O’Keeffe claimed the reserve spot.
In the untrimmed Ewe Lamb Class, the filed was once again dominated by John and Martin Doherty whose very stylish lamb claimed the red rosette over Arthur O’Keeffe’s lamb.
The Novice Ram Class was dominated by Eamonn Duffy of the Kells flock who claimed first and second place with two very breedy ram lambs. The Champion, Kells Bacardi, was sired by Fongoy Rocket from a Hogillfoot ewe. Once again, these two top placed rams moved into the Open class to compete in a very strong class of powerful rams. In this instance, the judge tapped out Arthur O’Keeffe’s Blackbrae AB President sired lamb bred out of a home bred Annakisha Ewe as his class Champion, with Eamon Duffy’s Novice winner taking the reserve spot.
The Young Handler’s Class, sponsored by Animax Vet is always a class enjoyed by everyone. This year it was Lorna Bailey of the Lismurtagh Flock who took the top honours. The judge was very impressed with her handling skills. The runners up in the class were Tara Bailey, Conor Bailey and Thomas Duffy. Well done to all the Young Handlers on a job well done!
When it came to the Championships, the judge’s deliberations were long and hard, such was the quality of stock on show in front of him.
The Female Championship was eventually decided with Susan O’Keeffe’s aged ewe claiming the top spot with Martin and John Doherty’s Ewe Lamb, who had previously won the Novice and the Open Ewe lamb classes claiming reserve.
The Male Championship was another difficult choice for the judge but it was Philip Lynch’s Shearling ram, Clyda Awesome who was tapped out with Arthur O’Keeffe’s ram lamb, a close second.
In the final line-up, it was Susan O’Keeffe’s Aged Ewe who continued her winning streak from 2022 by claiming the top spot of the Championship taking Supreme Champion of the show.
The Doherty’s Ewe lamb was a very worthy recipient of the Reserve Champion spot.
The Society would like to thank our two very generous sponsors of the event – Connollys Redmills and Animax Vet (Young Handler Class).
The Suffolk Sheep Society South of Ireland would like to commend all our breeders who attended the Championships. The quality of stock on display was second to none and is testament to the time and effort undertaken by breeders to continue improving bloodlines within the breed.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the Sheep 2023 Committee on an extremely well run and interesting event. It was a credit to all involved.