The Dubliner who started breeding pedigree cattle 50 years ago and continues to turn out the winners
Half a century of pedigree breeding is continuing on a winning way for the 'Baldonnel' Holstein Herd in the shadow of the airport lights in Co Dublin.
Six-time winners of the prestigious Baileys All Ireland Dairy Cow Championship, and the holders of the 2018 Balmoral Ruas Supreme Interbreed Championship, Cyril and John Dowling added the top honours from Emerald Expo 2019 at Virginia Show Centre, Co Cavan on Saturday.
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Five-year-old Baldonnel FM Sunshine EX90 was crowned Supreme Champion, and the Glanbia Exhibitor Bred Champion, from a superb line-out from the leading herds in the country at the IHFA first dairy show of 2019, after winning her class in a challenging entry.
"This is a line-out of cows that I really like to see," said show judge Helen Herd, before tapping forward Sunshine for the championship and describing her as a "fantastic cow".
The chartered accountant and mother-of-two, Ms Herd, who adjudicated on the entry with impressive decisiveness and competence throughout, helps to run a Yorkshire Dales Holstein herd of 50 cows with her husband, Gavin.
She commended the exhibitors and told them that the senior classes were among "the best I have ever seen" and assured them that their entries could hold their place with the best in the UK.
The official opening of the show was performed by Mairead McGuinness, MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament, and the excellent facilities at the spacious show centre proved a superb venue, but the attendance was disappointing given the calibre of the event and superb quality of the stock on show.
Both sire and dam of the Supreme Champion of the Show were home bred on the Kingswood Farm at Baldonnel. The champion is out of Baldonnel Jasper Sunshine ET and by the sire Baldonnel Flashmatic.
Baldonnel FM Sunshine EX90 was judged Holstein Champion and Supreme Interbreed Champion at Ruas (Balmoral) in December and previously won the All-Ireland Heifer in Milk championship at Tullamore Show in 2017.
She is bred from six consecutive generations of EX dams and in her first lactation produced over 10,000kg of milk and 660kg of milk solids. Her dam, Baldonnel Jasper Sunshine ET, was imported as an embryo from North America.
A delighted Cyril Dowling, who has devoted a lifetime of dedication to breeding excellence in dairy stock, admitted "we have been at it for 50 years" and vividly recalled that some of the early awards for the herd progeny were won at the RDS Spring Show at Ballsbridge several decades ago.
Reserve Champion of the show was awarded to the multi-award winner Hallow Advent Twizzle 3 ET, exhibited by Wexford-based breeders Philip and Linda Jones of Hallow Holsteins, home of 2018 Emerald Expo Supreme Champion Hollow Attwood Grace.
The herd has swept the boards in recent years, including winning the first Irish Holstein Friesian Association Champion Cow award, the Glanbia Senior Cow Championship champion award at Emerald Expo, and the Diageo Baileys Champion Cow 2016 award. On Saturday, Philip and Linda also received the Emerald Premier Breeder and Emerald Premier Exhibitor awards.
The north-eastern based trio, Paul Flanagan, Allen Dorian and Leo Collins, exhibited winner of the "admired" Holstein Heifer in Milk class, Hallow Doorman Abrakazoo, which went on to be tapped forward for the Emerald Expo Intermediate Championship. Reserve champion was Tubbertoby Doorman Joy exhibited by Paul Flanagan of Tubbertoby, Termonfeckin, Co Louth.
The Junior Championship was awarded to Ingleden Goldwyn Charlie, exhibited by Victor Jackson from Crossnacole, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, with the Reserve Championship going to Lynbrook Atwood Erin ET, exhibited by Rory Timlin, C Morley and D O'Neill of Crofton Park, Ballina, Co Mayo.
Edwin and Pat Gaynor from Mullaghlands, Mullagh, Co Cavan showed Mullaghlands Pride Starlight for the Coloured Breed Championship and the reserve championship was awarded to Rapidbay-UK Rummens Res Shiloh, exhibited by Michael Freeney from Derrydonnell, Oranmore, Co Galway.
March-2017 born Threemile Mandella Pam, winner of her class for coloured breed in-calf heifers, went on to be selected Coloured Breed Junior Champion and reserve was awarded to Threemile Pam Rocks from the herd of Christian Keenan from Corretard, Threemilehouse, Co Monaghan.
Co Monaghan sisters Rebekah and Sarah Williamson scored a unique family double, taking the championship and reserve in the YMA Showmanship League, while 10-year-old Will Jones, son of Philip and Linda Jones of Gorey, received the overall Honourable Mention Award after winning the Under-12 years section.
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