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Monday 23 July 2018

'I turned 60, became a grandfather, overcame a heart scare and won at Clifden Show'

What more could a Connemara Pony breeder want?

Noel Sweeney with Poise Melody Supreme Champion at the Connemara Pony Show in Clifden. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure
Noel Sweeney with Poise Melody Supreme Champion at the Connemara Pony Show in Clifden. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure
Siobhan English

Siobhan English

Each year Connemara ponies bred in Ireland are sold the world over. Rarely does one return back to its roots, so it was great to see Poesie Melody at Clifden Show recently to lift the supreme championship for her new owner Noel Sweeney.

“She had won everything in France and her owner Pascal Wandon was delighted to see her come back to Ireland,” commented Mr Sweeney on the decision to purchase the 13-year-old grey last November.

Bred in France but boasting a superb pedigree, her sire Imperator Melody is out of the legendary mare and former Clifden champion Silver Sparrow.

Not surprisingly Poesie Melody is a multiple winner in her home land and had also bred several winning foals over the years. These include Borsalino, who coincidentally is by Bunowen Paddy, a stallion originally bred in Connemara by Noel Sweeney. “I had sold him to Sweden as a foal and he was leased to France where he covered Poesie Melody. He is very popular with breeders so it would be great if we could get him back to Ireland now as well,” he said.

“The mare came to Ireland barren but she is now in foal to Monaghanstown Fionn.”

Ballyconnelly-based Noel Sweeney is no stranger to the show rings and his Bunowen prefix has been prominent in Clifden for many years. Former champions he bred include Bunowen Beauty, who was also a winner there as a foal.

“My father John also won the supreme when the show was held in Roundstone and this year four of us from the same family had winners here, with my brothers Malachy, Terence and Tommy all going home with red rosettes.

"It has been a great few months all round,” he added. “This summer I turned 60, became a grandfather to Killian, got the all-clear from the doctor after a heart scare, and won Clifden — what more could I want.”

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