The Northern Ireland Sheepdog Handlers Association were only formed in February 2017 to run nurseries that are for nursery dogs and to promote the working Border Collie and Sheepdog Trialling in Northern Ireland and have been busy organising their nursery season with nurseries being held in each region in the ten week period.
Their Nursery Final was held at Ballymullock Road, Larne by kind permission of Mr Robin McNinch on Saturday, 2nd December 2017.
The two classes were judged by Mr Kieran McFadden with Class 1 for dogs that had never been on a trial field until their first nursery with the course consisting of outrun, lift, fetch and pen and Class 2 for dogs that had been running at trials but had not gained Open points although handlers could run their young dogs in the both classes if they so wished. Class 2 course was outrun, lift, fetch, drive, and pen. Class 2 was run first with class 1 starting immediately afterwards. Mr Paddy McQuillan was Course Director and the Secretary Mrs Susan Kelly announced the handlers and dogs forward to the post.
The Blackface hornies worked well all day and everybody had a fair chance to do their stuff.
James Murphy was first to the post with 10 month old Mick By B McAllister’s Spot out of R O Dornan Gyp and put in a good show on his first nursery season and nursery final setting the score of 59.
Michael McAllister and Spot by D McAuley Joe ex A McKeegan Eve put in a good round scoring 69.
Eamon McAuley and Jonny by S Gormley’s Zac ex D McAuley Jan had a good start and went well around the course putting up a score of 73.
Frankie McCullough and Maid by F McCullough Nap ex E Hawthorne’s Snip gave a good account of themselves scoring 67.
Billy Lawrence and Meg by ST Toner’s Ben ex A Pattersons Nell tried hard with this year old bitch and scored 65.
The hard luck story of the day must go to John Kinney and the unregistered Bill when scoring 61 points without the pen.
Andy Patterson and Larkhill Glen by A Patterson Robbie ex TJ Doris Larkhill Nell went well but had a few problems around the course but got finished.
Robert Crawford and Jim by J Irvine Bob ex D McAuley Nan did well to complete with a score of 59.
Hugh McKee and Bess by J McLaughlin Ben ex R Herdman Morag gave it a good shot and returned a score of 54.
Eric Barfoot and Nell by W Watt Max ex E Barfoot Cindy were unfortunately beaten by the clock.
John Maginn and Glen by J Maginn Mozz ex M O Donnell Dip took the lead with a steady run scoring 78 and so raised the bar.
Cairin Kelly and Rhydale Moss by D K Evans Moss ex S G Lewis Jess were going well and then had some problems but finished the course.
John Maginn and Jet by J Maginn Jack ex J Maginn Kate put in another good run scoring 72 having him lying now first and third.
Michael McAllister and Fly by J Hamilton’s Jim ex A Price Annie tried hard to score 65.
Dean McAuley and Midge by S Gormley Zac ex D McAuley Jan went to post and this 10 month old bitch put in a good steady run to score 84 and so take the lead.
Eamon McAuley and Chip by W Watt Max ex E Barfoot Cindy put up a steady run to score 75.
Billy Lawrence and Glen by E Sharkey Sam ex B Lawrence Linn gave it a hard go when scoring 76.
Dean McAuley and Yellowhill Pete by D McAuley Joe ex D McNeill Minnie were last to go in the main class and they were really going for it with good turns and good lines scoring 79.
The six runners in Class 1 which consisted of outrun, lift, fetch, and pen got ready and first up was Robert Crawford with Bee by A Mawhinney Buzz ex R Crawford’s Bet set a score of 30 out of 60.
Joe Mullan and Spot were going well and scored 31 with no pen as the clock beat them.
Paddy McKeever and Meg by B McAllister’s Spot ex P McKeever Nan put in a good try scoring 37.
Seamus Gormley and Joe by M C Andrews Glen ex R P Hewitt Tess gave it a hard try when scoring 45.
Dean McAuley and Midge by S Gormley Zac ex D McAuley Jan were trying to do the double and put in a good run scoring 50.
Billy Lawrence and Meg by S T Toner Ben ex A Patterson Nell were last to go and had a good run and steady scoring 54 to take the Class 1 Title.
The Eastern Region class 1 and 2 winner was Dean McAuley with Midge and Yellowhill Pete.
The Western Region class 1 and 2 winners were Billy Lawrence with Meg and Glen.
Class 1 winner at Final Billy Lawrence and Meg 54 Billy also received The Cahoon Shield and a Logan A1 whistle.
Team Winners: Eastern Region.
Class 2 Winner and Northern Ireland Nursery Champions 2017 Dean McAuley and Midge 84. Dean also received The Cahoon Shield and a Logan 304 engraved whistle; 2 Dean McAuley Yellowhill Pete 79; 3 John Maginn Glen 78; 4 Billy Lawrence Glen 76; 5 Eamon McAuley Chip 75; 6 Eamon McAuley Jonny 73; 7 John Maginn Jet 72; 8 Michael McAllister Spot 69; 9 Frankie McCullough Maid 67; 10 Michael McAllister Fly 65.
The Cahoon Shields were presented to the winners class 1 Billy Lawrence and Class 2 Dean McAuley by Mr Davy Cahoon. Mr Robin McNinch presented the other prizes.
After the presentations Brian Kelly, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Sheepdog Handlers Association, thanked all those handlers who supported the new Association and gave them the opportunity to be able to run two regions, those who ran nurseries, judged, put sheep out, supplied sheep and helped in any way in both regions that made the first nursery season the success it was. He hoped there will be many more to come, and also thanked the sponsors Mr Harford Logan for the Logan whistles presented to the winners of classes 1 and 2, Mr Michael McCullagh from Pedro Petfoods for sponsoring the dog meal prizes and to the Cahoon Family for sponsoring the shields for the winners of both classes. Also Mr Danny O’Kane for sponsoring the cup for the team prize, Mr Robin McNinch for the use of the field and sheep, Mr Kieran McFadden for judging and Mr Paddy McQuillan for doing Course Director and the members for putting out sheep and the work the members in the Eastern region put in in setting up the course and getting sheep ready. Also to Ian and Wendy McMullan for the delicious catering in the field and for their kind donation and thanks to Mr Tommy John Doris for his kind donation and the two others who gave donations but wanted to be unnamed.
With the Nursery season over the Association will be looking forward to the Open Trials and will continue to work as their motto says: “Promoting the working Border Collie and Sheepdog Trialling in Northern Ireland”. The number of trials has fallen over the last 12-15 years not only here but in other parts of the UK.
Brian added: “We would like to try and help in any way we can to revive some of the trials that have been lost in Northern Ireland. There were some popular trials like Cairncastle, Loughguile and Armoy and others that have disappeared and we would ask the handlers in those regions and those who had anything to do with these trials to try and get them up and running again. We would offer to help with trial insurance, advertising and promotion.
“We would like to wish our members, supporters and everybody in the sheepdog world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”