Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Irishman wins world sheep dog title

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Donegal man James McGee was crowned world champion at the World Sheep Dog Trials last week.

In the process, the Ballybofey man helped the Irish team to the overall team championship.

The four-day event was held in Cumbria, England, where a total of 240 dogs and their handlers from 23 nations competed for the title.

Mr McGee farms 300 ewes and hoggets and 20 suckler cows but he still finds time to compete with his border collie Becca since they began in 2002.

"My wife Karen should really get a lot of credit because she's the one who keeps the show going when I'm on the road competing," he said.

Despite admitting that Becca is the best he has ever owned, Mr McGee has now put the champion collie into retirement.

"I have a grandson of hers, which I have high hopes for. He's no Becca but he may be as close as I ever get," he said.

Mr McGee hopes to get a litter out of Becca by Christmas but says that all the pups are already spoken for.

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"There's lads waiting years for a pup out of her," he said.

The runner-up was the Netherlands' Serge van der Zweep and his dog Eve.

In third place was another Irishman, Michael Gallagher, and his seven-year-old dog Cap, from Armoy, Co Antrim. Other Irish competitors to feature included Denis Birchall and his dog, Bill, from Wicklow, and William Gallagher and his dog Roy, from Donegal, who finished ninth and 10th respectively.

Mr McGee received a cheque for Stg£3,000, along with a gold dog whistle for his efforts.

Indo Farming