Tuesday 27 September 2016

Cream of the herds head for Virginia

The country's top dairy breeders will vie for €10,000 and top honours in Virginia

Martin Ryan

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

Pictured at the 2015 Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition at the Virginia Show, Co. Cavan were Champion Cow winner John Barrett from Togher Co. Cork; Henry Corbally Chairman Glanbia Ingredients Ireland; Mairead McGuinness MEP; and Breffni O'Reilly, Quality Director Diageo Ireland
Pictured at the 2015 Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition at the Virginia Show, Co. Cavan were Champion Cow winner John Barrett from Togher Co. Cork; Henry Corbally Chairman Glanbia Ingredients Ireland; Mairead McGuinness MEP; and Breffni O'Reilly, Quality Director Diageo Ireland

The cream of the country's top dairy herds will go on parade in the judging ring in Virginia, Co Cavan tomorrow (Wednesday) for the country's most prestigious dairy cow award - the €10,000 Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Cow Championship.

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Last year's overall winner, the superb multi-award winner, Laurelmore Duplex Impala EX 96 from the herd of five-times Baileys Champion Cow winner, John Barrett, Togher, Cork will not be in contention for the top honours.

But well known Co. Dublin breeder, Cyril Dowling, whose Baldonnell herd has won the title a record six times in 33 years, will be there in a bid to further extend his successful run. Cyril took Reserve Champion title last year.

Over 20 cows from 13 counties in the Republic and Northern Ireland will vie for the top award which will be decided by Cumbrian judge, Kevin Wilson, who is said to be on the look-out for a cow that combines conformation with good performance .

Minister Heather Humphreys will present the top prizes to the winning farmers, alongside representatives from Diageo who sponsor the competition in conjunction with its cream supplier Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd.

The two companies have been backing the competition for the past 33 years.

Head of Corporate Relations for Diageo Ireland, Hazel Chu, said both companies were delighted to reward dairy breeding excellence.The event in Virginia "helped underpin the quality and provenance of the indigenous cream supply for its world-leading liqueur brand Baileys," she said.

Competition director Brendan Smyth said: "The calibre of the pedigree cows on show is always high and visitors who attend on Wednesday can be assured of a great spectacle.

"The top dairy farmers see this as the one to win in the dairy livestock sector," he added.

So apart from the usual suspects, who else is likely to be in the running for the 2016 title?

Following on his success at Tullamore Show, Bryan O'Connor from Kanturk must be in contention, while stalwarts of the competition David Boyd, Glaslough, Co Monaghan and the Jones Family from Gorey, Co Wexford have confirmed their intention to compete again.

Both have had several successes at the event in previous years including Reserve Champion for David two years ago.

Returning for their second time is husband and wife team Liam and Sandra Murphy from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow who won Hon. Mention (Third Place) last year.

The organisers are particularly pleased to be hosting two entrants from Northern Ireland with 'Lissue Holsteins' Conor McAufield returning for his second time to see if he can better his fourth place position last year, while fellow Holstein breeder, Tom Henry also from Co. Antrim, will be competing for his first time.

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