The final of the 2015 Northern Ireland Shows Association/Danske Bank Sheep Championship took place recently at Antrim Show when a Charollais ewe from the flock of Diane Christie at Comber walked off with top honours to repeat the breeds success in the last two years.
The rain stayed away to allow many of the province’s leading breeding ewes, which had all pre-qualified at shows right across Northern Ireland, to parade before judge Jim Warnock – well known Texel breeder from Sandilands Farm, Lanark, Scotland who is no stranger in Northern Ireland.
After a thorough assessment of all the 14 finalists forward – representing many of the leading sheep breeds – Mr Warnock selected a ‘short leet’ before further appraisal prior to his final selection. At that stage he awarded the Championship to a Charollais ewe exhibited by Diane Christie which had qualified in early June.
This was another success for the Lornbrook flock, shown by Trevor Bell, crowning a successful show season for the flock. This is a tremendous achievement given the high calibre of entries during the competition each year.
The reserve award in the NISA/Danske Bank Sheep Championship went to a Suffolk ewe exhibited by Patrick Donnelly from Ballymena.
Third place in the championship line-up went to a Texel ewe exhibited by Liggett and Williamson from Fintona.
Another Texel ewe exhibited by Louise Breen from Tempo took fourth place in the Championship with Jonathan Aiken from Dromara took fifth place with a Charollais ewe from the Carnew Flock.
Once again this prestigious competition was generously sponsored by Danske Bank with members of the bank’s agribusiness team attending each of the qualifying shows to hand over special rosettes to the winning exhibitors. At the final in Antrim Debbie Reid and John Henning from Danske Bank were on hand to present the specially commissioned Crystal Trophy to the champion and rosettes to all the winning exhibitors.
Danske Bank has now supported this NISA Sheep Championship for almost 30 years and John Henning, head of agricultural relations at Danske Bank, said: “We are pleased to support the Northern Ireland Shows Association and this important competition for pedigree sheep breeders. We have been delighted to work with the NISA once again and this long term sponsorship reflects our ongoing support for the wider agri-food sector in Northern Ireland”
He continued: “Once again we had a good display of some of Northern Ireland’s best sheep forward at the final here in Antrim. At Danske Bank we remain committed to the agricultural industry and recognise the important sheep sector in Northern Ireland.”
Also present at the final were Bill Leeman and Colin McDonald from the Northern Ireland Shows Association along with Antrim Show chairman James Clements and directors George Robson Jnr; John Murphy and Rosemary McAllister.
Danske Bank and the Northern Ireland Shows Association also thank all of the exhibitors who took part in the competition this year and congratulate all the winners who made it to the final and helped ensure another successful show season for this leading competition.