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Sunday 4 December 2016

Clean sweep for Donegal at Suffolk Sheep Society Premier Show

Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30

Jonathan Lucas, Killygordon, Co Donegal, Aaron Myles and Andrew Lucas with the best group of three
Jonathan Lucas, Killygordon, Co Donegal, Aaron Myles and Andrew Lucas with the best group of three
Philip Lynch, Sea Bank, Castlebellingham, Co Louth with the champion female receiving the trophy from John Christie, president of the Suffolk Sheep Society, with Martin Butler, judge and PJ Howard
PJ Howard, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare with his February-born ram reserve male champion and reserve overall champion and highest price ram at the sale at €3,100
Martin Butler, judge at the South of Ireland Premier Suffolk Show and Sale at Roscrea assessing an excellent class of rams
Andrew Wilson, Shannagh, Raphoe, Co Donegal with his champion ram receiving the trophy from John Christie, president, Suffolk Sheep Society, with Robyn McIlrath, Martin Butler, judge, PJ Howard and TJ Duffy of MSD

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.

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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.

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He described the overall standard as "very good" with an excellent entry of "great sheep", which he rated "the best in the south of Ireland".

The female championship went to a January-born lamb from the flock of Philip Lynch, Castlebellingham out of Cairness Achievement by the sire Glyde Goldbar.

The price-topping ewe sold for €880, while the reserve female, a December 2015 lamb exhibited by Gerry Killilea, Claregalway, sold for €700.

The trade was weak for the ewes, with a clearance of around 25pc, and varied through the afternoon as the rams went through the ring before finishing with a steady trade for the final lots and overall clearance of 66pc at an average price of €970.

By contrast, four of the first 15 lots found a new owner, while 13 of the final 15 lots sold at an average of €847. It was a successful sale for Ms Susan O'Keeffe, Mallow, who sold a December 2015 ram for €2,450 and took an average of €1,230 for four entries.

Some of the higher prices paid for rams included €2,200 to Shaun and Seamus Gahan, Graiguenamanagh; €2,100 to John A Doherty, Malin, and €1,450 to Jonathan Lucas, Killygordon.

The ewe lambs met with a weak trade. In addition to the champion female and reserve, some of the better prices included Matthew Pierce, O'Briens Bridge, Co Clare who received €650 and €580 for two ewes.

The award winners

Suffolk Sheep Society Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best Suffolk ram bred in southern Ireland: Andrew Wilson, Raphoe, Co Donegal Tynte Challenge Cup for the best ram lamb in the novice class: PJ Howard, Fermoyle, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare McCulloch Perpetual Challenge Cup  for the best group of three ram lambs bred by the exhibitor: Jonathan Lucas,  Killygordon, Co Donegal The Bocock Perpetual Challenge cup for the best ram or ram lamb bred by the exhibitor: Andrew Wilson, Raphoe, Co Donegal Gibson Cup for the best shearling ewe: Michael and James O'Connell, Knockogan, Doora, Ennis, Co Clare Poole Challenge Cup for the best ewe lamb in class two: Philip Lynch, Sea Bank, Castlebellingham, Co Louth Wexford Marts Cup for the best ram lamb in lamb plus class: John A Doherty, Westown, Co Donegal Chapman Fearson Cup for the best shearling ram: O and G Deane, Woodford House, Athy, Co Kildare Arthur O'Keeffe Memorial Trophy for the winner of the open ram lamb class: Andrew Wilson, Raphoe, Co Donegal Single shearling ewe: 1st, Michael and James O'Connell, Doora, Ennis. Co Clare;  2nd, John Durcan, Clonkeen, Portlaoise;  3rd, Lexie and Alan Kilpatrick, Convoy,  Co Donegal

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