Top sheepdog handlers from across took part in the fifth annual trials of the Kells and Connor Sheepdog Society in the fields which had been kindly granted by Mr Oliver Dalrymple, an official of the club, this week in 1970.
There were over 90 entries for the following classes: novice, intermediate, open and doubles.
It was noted that the sheep proved to be “very stubborn” and Mr J Hereford Logan of Millisle who had been the judge of the novice and intermediate classes said that this had brought the best out of the dogs competing.
The most successful handler on the day was Mr John Graham of Portglenone, who collected the Kells and Connor Sheepdog Society’s Cup in the novice section and the Silcock’s Tankard in the intermediate section. Lang, his successful dog, teamed up with Ben to bring Mr Graham second place in the doubles. He also collected the special prize in the intermediate section.
Mr John McSwiggan of Gortin, Omagh, Co Tyrone, won the open class and the Montgomery and Murdock Cup with Rock. This dog did exceptionally well in collecting 53.5 points in a class where many competitors were forced to retire because of unco-operative sheep.
A superb performance by Ben and Jake brought Mr Sammy Holmes of Tullymore, Newcastle, Co Down, the Robert Dinsmore Cup for the doubles.
Mr David Brady of Ballyboley, Ballyclare, the youngest competitor, gained fifth place in the open with his father’s Risp. David was the son of the Irish champion, Mr James Brady who was had been unable to attend as he was judging at Cairnryan, Scotland.
Officials in charge of the trials were: Messrs J H Logan and Samuel Foster (judges); Randal McKee (announcer); Leonard Fleming (timekeeper); John Graham (course director); Oliver Dalrymple (chief steward); William Wilson (honorary treasurer) and William J McBride (honorary secretary).
Mr William Wilson distributed the prizes as follows: Novice section - 1 and Kells and Connor Sheepdog Society’s Cup, John Graham, Lang, 34; 2, John McSwiggan, Chad, 33; 3, Francis Brown, Ballymena, Dell, 31.5.
Intermediate section - 1 and Silcock’s Tankard, John Graham, Lang, 43; 2, Ivan Stevenson, Ballymena, Marsh, 41; 3, Dan McNaughton, Ballymena, Fly, 40.5; 4, John Laverty, Longmore, Ballymena, Ness, 39; 5, Edward Graham, Portglenone, Spring, 39.
Open section: 1 and Montgomery and Murdock Cup, John McSwiggan, Gortin, Rock, 53.5; 2, Jim Mullan, Swatragh, Nell, 53; 3, Sammy Holmes, Newcastle, Jake, 52.5; 4, Jim Beggs, Ballyalbana, Ballyclare, Jess, 51.5; David Brady, Ballyboley, Risp, 51; 6, J H Logan, Millisle, Moy, 49.5.
Doubles section: 1 and the Robert Dinsmore Cup, Samuel Holmes, Newcastle, Ben and Jake, 46; 2, John Graham, Portglenone, Ben and Lang, 34; 3, John McSwiggan, Gortin, Rock and Lynn, 23.