Team Ireland triumphs at World Sheepdog Trials 2023
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Organised by the International Sheep Dog Society, Team Ireland scored impressively and managed to secure the top prize amid tough competition from over 20 other teams hailing from all corners of the globe including the United States, Brazil, South Africa and Norway.
Team Ireland consisted of Martin O’Malley, from Keel, County Mayo, Eamonn Connell, from Mullingar, County Westmeath, Allistar Lyttle, from County Donegal, Paddy Fanning, from Glenealy, County Wicklow and James McCloskey, from Carndonagh, County Donegal.
Branding their performance as ‘outstanding,’ John McCullough, Chairman of the World Trial Committee, congratulated the members of Team Ireland.
He commented: “The standards shown during the teams competition were extremely high, which means that clinching the title was certainly no mean feat.
“A huge ‘well done’ to the members of team Ireland on what is a truly momentous achievement.
“Competing on the world stage requires many years of training and it’s fantastic for us to be able to showcase these talented handlers and their highly trained dogs right here in Northern Ireland for the very first time. We have such a rich farming history in this country and for the World Sheepdog Trials to be a part of it, is very special to us as a committee.
“This event is truly the ‘Olympics’ of the sheep dog world and we hope that the thousands of spectators that are set to join us across the week will thoroughly enjoy being able to witness such a great partnership between handler and dog.”
With the conclusion of the teams competition, there’s more excitement to come as the individual competitions will culminate on Saturday when a World Champion and Young Handler World Champion will be unveiled.
Speaking about the remainder of the trials, Isabel Branch, CEO of the International Sheep Dog Society, commented: “We’re expecting lots of tough competition throughout the individual competitions that are still to come tomorrow. Qualifiers have been running over the past few days and the top 16 individuals will go forward to compete for the World Champion and Young Handler World Champion Titles on Saturday.
“We are honoured to showcase the exceptional talent and dedication of sheep dogs and their handlers as well as putting Gill Hall Estate, and the wider Northern Irish community, on the map.
“Judging by the number of global spectators that we have welcomed to the Trials in recent days, this event has had a very positive ripple effect on local businesses and the tourist economy as a whole – and we’re expecting to see even more descending on Gill Hall Estate for the final few days of the competition.”
The World Sheepdog Trials is running at Gill Hall Estate, Dromore, until Saturday 16 September.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.worldsheepdogtrials.org or pay at the gate.