The spectacular setting of Gosford Forest Park saw the annual Armagh Show hosting the N.I. Dorset Club National Show Classes on Saturday 9th June, attracting a strong entry of Dorset sheep in all classes.
This was an eagerly awaited event, presenting an opportunity for breeders to display the pick of their flock and was kindly sponsored by Waste Collection Services Ltd, Ballyclare being represented on the day by Mrs Sandy Wilson.
The N.I. Dorset Club was most fortunate in having secured the services of the current Dorset Association President Mr Francis Fooks as judge for this prestigious occasion. Francis, with his three brothers farm extensively on their 780 acre mixed farm and in addition to dairy and cereals, run their own renowned Poorton Dorset sheep Flock near Bridport in Dorset.
With the Dorset breed classes having been keenly contested at this year’s Balmoral show, the Armagh Show event was always going to be well attended by breeders from across Northern Ireland. So saying, the recent spell of good weather couldn’t keep breeders away, and this resulted in strong entries being brought forward to compete for success in all classes. Once again the Ewe Lamb Class along with the Ram Lamb Class offered the judge a mighty challenge having a significant number of top class animals to contend with in each category. There were seven different categories in total competing for rosettes, with each entrant being turned out to perfection on what can only be described as a perfect day on the weather front. It was very apparent that both the exhibitors and onlookers enjoyed this fine spectacle and all were hugely impressed with the quality of Dorset sheep brought forward for show.
Ram, any age: 1st Malcolm Keys (Rathwarren), 2nd Shane Wilson (Legaloy), 3rd M&R Hall (Ballycraig).
Ewe, any age: 1st Ben Lamb (Richhill), 2nd Shane Wilson (Legaloy).
Shearling ewe: 1st A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 2nd J&R Hill (Oliver Tree), 3rd Shane Wilson (Legaloy), 4th A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 5th J&C Robson (Ballyhamage), 6th R Moore (Bannside), 7th Kyle Bradshaw (Derryhennett).
Ewe lamb: 1st J&C Robson (Ballyhamage), 2nd J&R Hill (Oliver Tree), 3rd Ben Lamb (Richhill), 4th A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 5th J&R Hill (Oliver Tree), 6 th M&R Hall (Ballycraig).
Ram lamb: 1st Gary Hanna (MAE), 2nd J&C Robson (Ballyhamage), 3rd Shane Wilson (Legaloy), 4th A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 5th J&R Hill (Oliver Tree), 6th A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy).
Pair of Lambs: 1st J&R Hill (Oliver Tree), 2nd Ben Lamb (Richhill), 3rd A&P McNeill (Kilvaddy) 4th J&C Robson (Ballyhamage).
Group of Three: 1st A & P McNeill (Kilvaddy), 2nd Shane Wilson (Legaloy).
Champion: A&P McNeill (Shearling ewe) (Kilvaddy)
Reserve Champion: J&C Robson (Ewe lamb) (Ballyhamage)
Best opposite sex: G Hanna (Ram lamb) (MAE)
Great credit is due to all who exhibited on the day and to the Judge Mr Francis Fooks, who did a sterling job in determining the results of each Class. In his own words, he was presented with ‘a very impressive line up of sheep’. The final task was of course to select the Champion Dorset from all red rosette Class winners, and this accolade was awarded to an exceptional Shearling Ewe displaying all the characteristics of the breed, coming forward from A&P McNeill’s Kilvaddy flock.
Reserve Champion was found in the Ewe lamb class from the Ballyhamage flock of J&C Robson, with best of opposite sex to the Champion going to G Hanna’s Ram lamb (MAE).
The N.I.Dorset Club wishes to thank the Wilson family, owners of Waste Management Services, Ballyclare for their sponsorship of this event. Their generosity was very much appreciated and particular thanks to Sandy for her presentation of awards on the day.
The N.I. Dorset Club would also wish to thank the officers and committee of Armagh Agricultural Society for their organisation of the show on the day. This was a wonderful opportunity to allow the club a shop window to display their wares to the visitors who came from all walks of life, and promote the qualities of the breed. There continues to be a marked increase in the number of new breeders registering membership with the Dorset Society, and there will be an opportunity for prospective purchases to be made at the upcoming 46th Annual Dorset Premier Show & Sale to be held in J.A. McClelland & Sons Livestock Mart, Ballymena, on Monday 30th July 2018 with show at 1.30pm and sale commencing 6.00pm. The judge on the day will be Mr Matt Care, Burhos flock, Cornwall.