David Matthews honour for Shane

Shane Wilson Presented with the Cornella Cup by Liz Matthews
Shane Wilson Presented with the Cornella Cup by Liz Matthews

Shane Wilson of the Legaloy flock of Pedigree Poll Dorsets based in Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, was the recent winner of the David Matthews Memorial Trophy – the Cornella Cup.

Shane established his flock in 2007, aged ten, and now currently runs 30 pedigree ewes and is a regular on the local show circuit with many successful outings, which has contributed to him being the first winner of the Cornella Cup from the province.

David Matthews himself was a long-established Dorset breeder who started his Cornella flock of polled Dorsets over fifty years ago with sheep he purchased from the Bradstock dispersal sale. As a breeder he placed great emphasis on performance recording, initially with MLC and more recently with the Signet recording group. He made great use of a frequent lambing system to combine his interest in quality sheep with quantity to ensure a profitable flock with plenty of sheep for all of the society sales. He has also been hailed as one of the pioneering breeders in purchasing Dorset genetics from as far afield as New Zealand in an effort to improve the breed and supply outcross sires.

After David’s death four years ago his wife, Liz, wanted to set up a memorial in recognition of his passion for the Dorset sheep, so she presented the David Matthews Memorial Trophy – the Cornella Cup – to be presented annually to an enterprising young Dorset breeder.

The winner is picked by the President of the Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep Breeders Association based on a short resume of the flock owned by each of the young breeders. Each year one representative from Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales is nominated for the award and this year the local delegate was Shane.

Andrew Kingdon, currently the society president and owner of the Polgreen flock of Poll Dorsets, a 170 strong ewe flock situated in Cornwall, had a great task ahead of him of choosing his winner of the award.

After some deliberation Shane’s application stood out to him for a few reasons. Namely that Shane included not only his achievements and successes, the pinnacle being winning the Dorset Championship at the Royal Ulster Show as a 12 year old, within his application but also the disappointments and problems that he has faced when working with sheep, something that every sheep farmer can relate to.

The president also acknowledged and appreciated Shane’s honesty in saying how difficult he had found it to put into words all the experiences, trials and tribulations that the Legaloy flock had been through. For these reasons he had picked Shane as this year’s worthy winner.

The NI Dorset Club wishes to warmly congratulate Shane on being the first from the region to have won the Cornella Cup.