ZWARTBLES Ireland Sheep breeders gathered recently at The Meadows Equestrian Centre, Lurgan for the Annual Zwartbles Flock Competition prize giving which, this year, was an All-Ireland affair with flocks from Galway, Kilkenny, Cork and Wicklow as well as many of the Northern Ireland flocks taking part.
Judge Mrs Noleen Henry, whose Fedney Flock won the 2011 competition, was most impressed by the size and quality of all the 17 flocks visited, only bettered by the great welcome she and her husband Colin received on each and every farm.
“Breeders have certainly invested heavily on new bloodlines with correct conformation and colour markings, which are so important as a breed standard. We have seen many wonderful sheep many of which I would be proud to own,” remarked Mrs Henry.
The winners of the various sections were:
Best Large Flock of over 30 ewes: 1st Cyril Cromie; 2nd Alex McAuley; 3rd Liam Campbell.
Medium Flock of 11 to 30 ewes: 1st Murray Brennan; 2nd Suzanna Crampton (Co.Kilkenny); 3rd Mary Cashel
Small Flock of 10 and under ewes: 1st James Porter; 2nd Francis Lyons (Co. Galway); third Melvyn Dorman
Best Group of ewe lambs received the Deerpark Cup presented by the McAuley family. This went to Cyril Cromie, second Michael Conlin and third Caroline Lyons.
Best Stock Ram received the Fort Cup presented by the Cromie family and went to Francis Lyons from Co. Galway, second James Porter and third Alex McAuley.
The Champion Zwartbles Flock for 2012 received The Kee Family Cup and this went to the Gransha flock of Murray Brennan from Islandmagee Co. Antrim. Murray has been breeding from some of the best bloodlines available in Ireland and the UK and has produced a really outstanding flock over the last couple of years and should have some wonderful lambs to sell in the autumn.
The runner up, receiving the Fedney Plate presented by the Henry Family, was Cyril Cromie’s The Fort flock. This is a long establish flock, winner of many prizes in the show ring.
Full report and many photo graphs of all the flocks entered in the competition may be viewed on Facebook on Chark Zwartbles Northern Ireland and on Zwartbles Ireland pages.