The recovery of factory sheep prices reminds me of the greatest of all Champions League finals - Liverpool's 'Miracle of Istanbul' in 2005.
From being 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time, Liverpool staged a remarkable comeback, scoring three times in six minutes to level by the hour mark.
There were no further goals, so the game went to extra-time and then penalties.
Dyed in the wool
I watched the shoot-out with my wife, a dyed-in-the-wool Liverpool fan. As the first Milan player stepped up, I turned to her and said "his head is gone" and sure enough he missed. Milan missed two more penalties, and Liverpool went on to win a never-to-be-forgotten decider.
As I compiled this report, conversations with factory reps had echoes of that game.
Like Milan, the factories were in a position of apparently unassailable strength back at the end of March, with sheep farmers on the ropes like Liverpool.
But the factories contrived to let their 'opponents' back into the game.
After being hammered down to €5/kg on March 24, hogget quotes this week are back to €6.00-6.10/kg plus bonuses - that's a rise of 40-60c/kg on the previous week.
Spring lamb quotes are up to 70c/kg above where they were on that fateful Monday morning. At €6.30-6.60/kg, it's a 30-40c/kg gain on last week.
The only disappointment is that cull ewes have not recovered to the same extent, having only regained 20-25c/kg of the 45-50c/kg they lost.
This now is the situation in relation to springs: Kildare Chilling, by adding 40c/kg to their base price, remain top of the tree on €6.60+10c/kg quality assurance.
Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kepak Athleague and the two ICMs are all up 30c/kg.
Kildare also lead the way for hoggets as they jump their quote 40c/kg to €6.20+10c/kg QA.
Dawn and Kepak raise their offer by 50c and 60c/kg respectively, while the ICMs move up 40c/kg.
With cull ewes, Dawn add 10c/kg and the ICMs put on 20c/kg.
The question is, how has this happened? How has the factory trade recovered so spectacularly?
Yes supplies are scarce and demand appears to be great, but the processors are past masters at managing supplies. Aren't they?
One theory doing the rounds traces the comeback to rumours circulating in the week following the March collapse, that further price cuts were in the pipeline. This allegedly saw some bigger suppliers effectively dump everything from springs to store lambs into the system, resulting in no reserves being left in the wings.
Whatever the reason, those with factory sheep at present are like those Liverpool players in that 2005 shootout: they are back from the brink, and now the ball is sitting on the penalty spot; it's just a question of hitting it hard and accurately enough.
By the way, I'm a long-suffering Leeds United supporter.
This was an online auction where all sales were conducted via the internet. A live feed of stock saw 45kg lambs make €132/hd, with 48kg lambs selling for €128/hd.
Among the lighter lots 39kgs made €109/hd, with 43kgs seeing €113/hd.
Here the chosen method of sale was by tender. Patsy Smith reported well-fleshed sheep as being a strong trade, with prices in general up by €2-5/hd.
Good hoggets sold from €120/hd to a top of €142/hd as in the case of a batch weighed at 54.5kgs, with cull ewes selling from €90-130/hd.
Ewes with lambs at foot improved on the previous week with prices ranging from €110-210/hd.
Sample prices among the spring lambs included eight at 38kgs that averaged €116.50/hd, with seven at 44kgs making €137/hd.
The weight and sale saw prices for spring lambs set at €2.90/kg, leading to an overall average of €132/hd.
The price on the hogget side was set at €2.55/kg, with 50kg lambs making €127.50/hd.
Stephen Hannon commented that demand for hoggets saw their price better by around €15/hd.
Cull ewes were sold by hand with prices averaging €95-120/hd.
David Quinn described his sale as “very competitive”, with heavy hoggets up by around €20/hd at €135-142/hd.
On the spring lamb side, 43kgs+ sold from €134-138/hd, with 40-42kgs making €127-135/hd.
Heavy cull ewes in general averaged €120-145/hd, with heavier batches making up to €150/hd. Light culls averaged €60-85/hd, with those David described as “in-between” averaging €100-120/hd.