Scott has the cutting edge for world sheep shearing
Ireland's five-strong team facing stiff competition at the World Sheep Shearing Championships, taking place in Gorey
All roads lead to Gorey on Thursday when the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing Championships get under way, with 27 international teams vying for glory in what are regarded as the Olympics of the sheep shearing world.
Ireland field a five-man team for this year's event, with our best chance of medal honours resting with Ivan Scott, the well known international machine shearer from Donegal.
However, Scott and colleagues George and Brendan Graham from Gorey (wool handling) and Mayo man Peter Heraty and Finney-based farmer Seamus Joyce (blade shearing) have no illusions about the strength of the international opposition they are up against at this week's event.
The heats and finals in all three disciplines – machine shearing, blade shearing and wool handling, will be run off from Thursday through to Sunday at the specially designed Irish Country Meats Dome at the Ambers Springs Hotel just outside Gorey.
The ICM dome has a capacity of more than 1,200 spectators and record crowds of more than 40,000 are expected over the course of the competition.
The event, which is worth more than €2.2m to the local economy, is also being streamed live by the organisers for both national and international audiences.
George Graham, one of the main movers in getting the event back to Gorey for the second time, believes the home team have a reasonable chance of making an impact in all competitions.
"This is a strong team and we will certainly give it our best shot. We'll give it a lash," he said.