Chairman Eddie O’Neill presenting Elizabeth McAllister and daughter Sarah Wilson with a cup for winning Champion Show Flock.Chairman Eddie O’Neill presenting Elizabeth McAllister and daughter Sarah Wilson with a cup for winning Champion Show Flock.
Chairman Eddie O’Neill presenting Elizabeth McAllister and daughter Sarah Wilson with a cup for winning Champion Show Flock.

Ardstewart Aces in Beltex Flock Competition

The Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club gathered at the Royal Hotel, Cookstown on Saturday 11 November for their annual Club Dinner.

They announced the results of the 2023 Flock Competition, as well as celebrating club members’ achievements across the year, presenting an impressive array of cups, trophies and rosettes.

Husband and wife duo, Wade and Alison McCrabbe, were victorious on the night, winning the Overall Champion Flock and lifting the Ballycreely Trophy for their Ardstewart Flock. The Raphoe-based breeders had a string of successes in the competition including Champion Large Flock, as well as Champion Flock of Ewes, Flock of Ewe Lambs and Homebred Ram Lamb.

Speaking of their success, Alison commented: “It is fantastic to have our flock so well recognised, especially as we celebrate 30 years of Beltex involvement this year. We love the breed and are very excited to have our first production sale at Harrison & Heatherington Carlisle on 8th December.”

Continuing their winning ways, the McCrabbes, along with Andrew and Jamie McCutcheon, shared the Smyths Daleside Trophy for jointly achieving the highest priced sheep sold at a Society Sale, with one Beltex from the Ardstewart Flock and two from the Bodoney Flock selling for an impressive 4,500gns. The McCutcheons also triumphed in the Flock Competition taking Reserve Champion Large Flock, as well as Best Overall Stock Ram and Stock Ram Lamb. In addition, the Trillick breeders were awarded Reserve Champion Show Flock based on their performance at shows throughout the year.

The Reserve Overall Champion Flock and winner of the Inveresk Trophy was Limavady-based John Harbinson’s Glenkeen Flock. John presented a new cup in honour of his late father who was one of the founding members of the Club. Recipient of the inaugural Fergus Harbinson Memorial Cup was Elizabeth McAllister, having won Male Champion at Balmoral Show. The Kells breeder also took home Champion Show Flock, representing her Artnagullion Flock’s success in the past showing season.

Other notable successes included Daniel Patton winning Reserve Champion Small Flock and the O’Neills of Lagyveagh Flock taking two seconds and two thirds in the Flock Competition. Picking up Best Novice Show Flock was William and Bobby Porter of Major’s Bridge Flock, Maghera.

Matthew Burleigh amassed a table of silverware for his many wins throughout the last year including Overall Champion at the Irish Beltex National Show in Omagh, Dungannon Show and Sale Champion and Balmoral Show Beltex Champion. Young Handlers at the National Show were also recognised with Victoria Ferguson winning the Ardstewart Cup for Senior Young Handler and Sarah Wilson achieving Junior Young Handler.

The evening was a great hit, Club Chairman Eddie O’Neill commented: “It was brilliant to see so many of our members attend the Club Dinner and for so many of them to be recognised for their achievements in producing and promoting quality Beltex sheep. Thank you to the Royal Hotel for great hospitality and our Secretary Libby for bringing fun and entertainment to the evening.”

The next Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club event is the Dungannon In-Lamb Sale on Friday 15 December 2023 at Dungannon Farmers’ Mart.

Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club Flock Competition Results 2023

Competition Judge: Gary Beacom, Lakeview Flock, Fivemiletown

Overall Champion Flock – Ballycreely Trophy: Wade and Alison McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe

Overall Reserve Champion Flock – Inversk Trophy: John Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady

Champion Large Flock: Wade and Alison McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe

Reserve Champion Large Flock: Andrew McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Champion Small Flock: John Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady

Reserve Champion Small Flock: Daniel Patton, Greenhill Flock, Newtownards

Flock of Ewes Large Flock: 1st W. & A. McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe; 2nd A. McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick; 3rd H. & E. O’Neill, Lagyveagh Flock, Glenarm

Flock of Ewes Small Flock: 1st W. & B. Porter, Majors Bridge Flock, Maghera; 2nd J. Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady; 3rd D. Patton, Greenhill Flock, Newtownards

Best Overall Flock of Ewes – Garrion Flock Trophy: W & A McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe

Flock of Ewe Lambs Large Flock: 1st W & A McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe; 2nd H & E O’Neill, Lagyveagh Flock, Glenarm; 3rd A. McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Flock of Ewe Lambs Small Flock: 1st J. Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady; 2nd D. Patton, Greenhill Flock, Newtownards; 3rd M. & K. Diamond, Pointhouse Flock, Garvagh

Best Overall Flock of Ewe Lambs – Bonecastle Trophy: W & A McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe

Stock Ram Large Flock: 1st A. McCutcheon, Cybi Glyndwr, Bodney Flock, Trillick; 2nd W & A McCrabbe, Buckles Hope For Us All, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe; 3rd H & E O’Neill, Lagyveagh Gran Tourano, Lagyveagh Flock, Glenarm

Stock Ram Small Flock: 1st D. Patton, Artnagullion Grit, Greenhill Flock, Newtownards; 2nd J. Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady; 3rd W. & B. Porter, Tullylagan Figo, Majors Bridge Flock, Maghera

Best Overall Stock Ram: A. McCutcheon, Cybi Glyndwr, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Stock Ram Lamb Large Flock: 1st A. McCutcheon, Pointhouse Jameson, Bodney Flock, Trillick; 2nd H & E O’Neill, Majors Bridge John Cena, Lagyveagh Flock, Glenarm

Best Overall Stock Ram Lamb: A. McCutcheon, Pointhouse Jameson, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Homebred Ram Lamb Large Flock: 1st W. & A. McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe; 2nd W. & A. McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe; 3rd A. McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Homebred Ram Lamb Small Flock: 1st J. Harbinson, Glenkeen Flock, Limavady; 2nd J. Keys, Bolies Flock, Fivemiletown; 3rd S. Graham, Riverview Flock, Omagh

Best Homebred Ram Lamb: W. & A. McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe

Top priced Beltex sheep at a Society Sale: Wade & Alison McCrabbe, Ardstewart Flock, Raphoe and Andrew & Jamie McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick.

Champion Show Flock Cup: Elizabeth McAllister, Artnagullion Flock, Kells

Reserve Champion Show Flock: Andrew and Jamie McCutcheon, Bodney Flock, Trillick

Best Novice Flock: William and Bobby Porter, Majors Bridge Flock, Maghera

Speaking of their success, Alison commented: “It is fantastic to have our flock so well recognised, especially as we celebrate 30 years of Beltex involvement this year. We love the breed and are very excited to have our first production sale at Harrison & Heatherington Carlisle on 8th December.”