The annual Randox Antrim Show held on Saturday, July 22, in the grounds of Shane’s Castle, attracted a large entry of Dorset sheep.
This was an eagerly awaited event, presenting an opportunity for breeders to display their Dorset sheep in this the N.I. Dorset Club National Show classes, sponsored by Sammy and Neill Anderson of Cullybackey, local merchants and suppliers of Greenvale Feeds.
The N.I. Dorset Club was fortunate in having secured the services of Mr James Royan as judge for this prestigious occasion. James runs his own Bennachie Flock in Berwickshire, Scotland, and was aware of the quality of animals he would be judging, given the reputation the Northern Ireland breeders have been gaining at the National May Fair Sale held in Exeter each year.
With the Dorset Breed classes having been well represented and keenly contested at this year’s Balmoral and county shows, the Antrim Show event was always going to be well attended by breeders from across Northern Ireland.
The culmination of another season’s work and efforts, resulted in very strong entries being brought forward to compete for success in all classes.
Indeed the Ewe Lamb class offered the Scottish judge a mighty challenge having 26 top class animals to contend with. There were seven different categories in the competition which attracted in excess of over 60 quality animals, with each being turned out to perfection on what can only be described as a perfect day on the weather front.
It was very apparent that both the exhibitors and onlookers enjoyed this fine spectacle and all were hugely impressed with the quality of Dorset sheep brought forward for show.
Ram, any age: 1st Shane Wilson (Legaloy), 2nd J & C Robson (Ballyhamage), 3rd A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 4th T J Magee (Drumagore), 5th T J Magee (Drumagore), 6th Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree).
Ewe, any age: 1st J & C Robson(Ballyhamage), 2nd Shane Wilson(Legaloy), 3rd Ben Lamb(Richhill), 4th Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 5th Ken Thompson (Kirlish), 6th John Wilson (Tardree).
Shearling ewe: 1st Ellen McClure (Mountdale), 2nd Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 3rd J & C Robson (Ballyhamage), 4th Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 5th Shane Wilson(Legaloy), 6th A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy).
Ewe lamb: 1st Amy McConnell (Beechmount), 2nd Ellen McClure (Mountdale), 3rd A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 4th Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 5th Amy McConnell (Beechmount), 6th A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy).
Ram lamb: 1st Ben Lamb (Richhill), 2nd Ben Lamb (Richhill), 3rd Sean Paul McCarry (Turnavedog), 4th Ellen McClure (Mountdale), 5th M & C Patton (Tullybane), 6th Andrew Knox (Braeview).
Pair of Lambs: 1st Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 2nd A & P McNeill(Kilvaddy), 3rd John Wilson (Tardree).
Group of Three: 1st J & C Robson (Ballyhamage), 2nd Ellen McClure (Mountdale), 3rd Raymond Hill (Oliver Tree), 4th A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy).
Champion: Amy McConnell (Ewe Lamb) Beechmount.
Reserve Champion: Ben Lamb (Ram Lamb) Richhill.
Great credit is due to all who exhibited on the day and to the judge Mr James Royan, who it was felt had the most difficult job in determining the results of each class. The final task was of course to select the champion Dorset from all red rosette class winners, and after long and considered deliberation this was awarded to a wonderful ewe lamb displaying all the characteristics of the breed, coming forward from Miss Amy & Mr B McConnell’s Beechmount Flock.
The reserve champion was found in the ram lamb class, being a perfectly formed specimen owned and presented by Mr Ben Lamb of the Richhill Flock.
The N.I. Dorset Club would wish to thank the officers and committee of Antrim Agricultural Society for their organisation of the show on the day.
A spokesperson said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to allow the club a shop window to display their wares to the visitors who came from all walks of life, and promote the qualities of the breed. There is certainly evidence of a marked increase in the number of breeders registering membership with the Dorset Society.”
There will be an opportunity for prospective purchases to be made at the upcoming 45th Annual Dorset Premier Show & Sale to be held in J.A. McClelland & Sons Livestock Mart, Ballymena, on Monday, July 31. Show at 1.30pm with the sale commencing at 6pm.