Top Cats crowned with National Hall of Fame awards

Kilkenny breeders among 25 recipients

Eddie Brennan, Coon East, Coon, Co Kilkenny, receiving the Hall of Fame Award for his contribution to the Salers Cattle Society from Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.
Eddie Brennan, Coon East, Coon, Co Kilkenny, receiving the Hall of Fame Award for his contribution to the Salers Cattle Society from Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.
Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, Minister of State presenting the Hall of Fame Award to Tim Wilson (81), Clough, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny in recognition of his life long support of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association.

Martin Ryan

Three Kilkenny farmers have been honoured for their lifetime committment to excellence in bovine, ovine and equine breeding sectors of farming on the nominations of their peers.

Eddie Brennan, Tim Wilson and James Murphy were each presented with National Hall of Fame Awards at a glittering function at the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone on Sunday night.

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They were among 25 people honoured in the Bovine, Ovine and Equine awards at the 17th National Hall of Fame Awards ceremony where the guest of honour was Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, TD, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, who presented the awards.

Michael Flanagan, CEO of the National Hall of Fame Awards, described it as a very special occasion for the recipients of the awards.

"The reason you are here tonight is because you have been acclaimed by your fellow breeders and respective breed societies, as the person who, over the years, has given your time, expertise and outstanding service for the betterment of your breed. We congratulate and compliment you for your dedication and commitment," he said.

Thirteen counties were represented among the recipients of the awards with Kilkenny having the largest representation and the only county to have a recipient in each of the three categories.

Eddie Brennan, Coon East, Coon, Co Kilkenny, was nominated by the Salers Cattle Society. He has been a member of the Salers Cattle Society Council for the past ten years and is currently chairman of the society.

He founded the 'Woodview Salers' herd in 2004 when he purchased a stock bull and nine heifers from the Ballymackeogh Salers herd to start his own.

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The Salers colour, shape and style were some of the first characteristics that attracted Eddie to the breed. On further investigation into the Salers breed, he learned that the Salers are well suited to the type of marginal, high altitude and heavy soil he farms.

Tim Wilson (81), Clough, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, the nominee of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association, has been a lifelong supporter of the Irish Draught breed having started out on his equestrian career on ponies out hunting with the Laois Foxhounds.

He has served as Laois Chairman and President as the National vice-president of the IDHBA and has kept a number of stallions and exhibited at shows over a wide region of the country.

However his early career was not confined to ponies or horses. He played football with his local club Ralyard, winning an unbelievable 14 senior football titles in Kilkenny, having started his senior football career at 17 years of age. He continued playing up to his 40th birthday and along the way won a county minor title in Laois.

James Murphy, Fiddawn, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny was nominated by the Irish Charollais Sheep Society of which he was one of the earliest members on the founding of the society 30 years ago.

"Having tried a Charollais ram on our commercial ewes the previous year, we were impressed with the easy lambing and fast finishing ability of the breed and decided to establish a pedigree Charollais flock," he explained of the origin his Saddle Hill Charollais flock established in 1989.

"This was our first experience of pedigree breeding and we had to learn from our mistakes, but the Charollais Sheep Society was just newly formed so most of our fellow breeders were facing the same challenges. This was a really exciting time for the breed," he added.

The Saddle Hill flock bred a champion for the Premier Show and Sale in 1990 and went on to breed two All-Ireland Charollais Supreme Champions, while also having bred some notable agricultural show winners over the years.

He has served as chairman of the sheep society and chairman of the IFA National Sheep Committee.

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