Downhill trial proves popular with handlers of all abilities

Downhill Sheepdog Society committee members pictured receiving sponsor cheque from William King
Downhill Sheepdog Society committee members pictured receiving sponsor cheque from William King

Downhill Sheepdog Society held its annual charity sheepdog trial at Jack Smyth’s Farm, Ballyhackett Road, Castlerock, on Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1.

The Friday evening was for local novice handlers and the open novice confined to handlers from Co Londonderry.

Daniel Watt and Toby at shed

Daniel Watt and Toby at shed

The Friday evening trial started at 7pm and 20 dogs competed at the event judged by Daniel Watt. The weather was good and there was the usual banter amongst the handlers. The sheep were testing and hard to pen at times. It was good to see some young dogs on the trial field for the first time in the open novice and they definitely showed themselves well.

The Saturday trial started at 9am and had 52 dogs competing in the Intermediate and Open classes judged by Seamus Gallagher. The weather was good except for the odd light shower passing over. The sheep were much the same as the evening before but with the more experienced dogs most handlers got around the course and finished with some good runs being put up and the spectators were definitely given a good day’s trialling. Some good runs came to an end at the pen and shed when some handlers ran out of time. There was plenty of craic about the field and everybody enjoyed themselves.

After trialling, a spokesman thanked all the handlers for supporting the event, the sheep stewards and Mr Gallagher for judging.

Results are as follows:

Dean McAuley and Jan at Pen

Dean McAuley and Jan at Pen

Friday, June 30

Local Novice: 1, W Smyth, Glen; 2, W Smyth, Meg; 3, J Smyth, Lyn; 4, J Mullan, Fly.

Open Novice: 1, S Conn Maggie; 2, L Kelly Rob; 3, R Goligher, Fred.

Saturday, July 1

Intermediate: 1, P McLaughlin, Ben, 71; 2. S Gormley, Sky, 70; 3, L Kelly, Rob, 69.

Co Derry Cup: S Gormley, Sky.

Open: 1, G Graham, Ash, 90; 2, D McAuley, Jan, 90; 3, R Goligher, Briar, 89; 4, J McLaughlin, Lyn, 88; 5, S O’Neill, Jack 87; 6, J Diamond, Jack, 87.

Downhill Shield: J McLaughlin, Lyn.

David Forsythe Cup: S O’Neill, Jack.