scot favourite to hold title in shear thriller
Crowds to witness amazing feats of speed and skill as over 150 competitors from all over the world hit for Kildare venue
Over 150 of the world's top sheep shearers will take to the stage this weekend at the Quinns of Baltinglass All Ireland and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships, in Punchestown, Co Kildare.
Returning to defend his 2011 title of Champion International Open shearer will be Scotsman Hamish Mitchell, who last year sheared 20 hogget ewes in 15 minutes 49 seconds to win the competition outright.
However, Mitchell will by no means get a free run at the title this year, with plenty of Irish and international competitors lining up to take his crown.
Among those seeking to de-throne the Scottish shearer will be Welsh native Gareth Daniels. The current Welsh national champion is in great form, having represented his country in the Golden Shears final in New Zealand earlier this year.
Donegal native Ivan Scott is another who would like to beat Mitchell, having been international champion himself in both 2009 and 2010.
He will also be focused on trying to defend his current title of All Ireland champion. His record stands at 744 lambs in eight hours.
Other competitors in the international open competition include Tom Kennedy, from Athenry, Co Galway, Stanley Allingham, from Co Fermanagh, and Roy Collier, from Co Wexford.