Clean sweep for Donegal at Suffolk Sheep Society Premier Show
A Donegal breeder dominated the awards at the south of Ireland Suffolk Sheep Society Premier Show and Sale, but the cream at the sale was scooped by a north Clare breeder who exhibited the price topper.
The supreme champion of show, selected from the large entry at central auctions mart Roscrea, was awarded to a January-born ram from the Carlisle flock of well-known breeder Andrew Wilson, Raphoe, out of Rookery Classic by the sire Birness Murray.
The champion, judged the male champion of show, was awarded the Suffolk Sheep Society Cup for the best Suffolk ram bred in southern Ireland, the Bocock cup for the best exhibitor bred ram, and Arthur O'Keeffe cup for the open ram class.
In the sales ring, auctioneer Michael Taaffe's hammer fell on the champion at €1,500, a disappointing price for a brother to a recent £14,000 ram - reflecting a tough seasonal trade. He also took home €2,650 for another January-born ram.
However, the reserve overall champion, bred and exhibited by PJ Howard, Ballyvaughan, went to a February-born ram out of Kells' Liam Og and by the sire Garryhinch Impact. He sold to Coleraine sheep breeder Denis Taylor for €3,100, which is an Irish seasonal to-date high for the breed.
The breeder of the sale price topper, from a small flock of Suffolks in the Burren area, received €7,200 for a ram from the flock a couple of years ago and was pleased with the sale.
Show judge Martin Butler wasn't hiding the difficulty in deciding the championship.
"The reserve was very, very close. It was only a toss up between them, it could have gone either way. The reserve was a smaller lamb, but with great style and great bone. The champion is a bigger animal, a great sheep too," he said.