Kilkenny sheep breeder Philip Byrne enjoyed a dream start to his venture into pedigree Suffolks when a Scottish breeder paid €11,000 for his first-born lamb, the price topper at the South of Ireland Suffolk Sheep Society Premier Show and Sale at Roscrea Mart on Saturday.
The ram lamb was placed second in the Novice Lamb Class at the show the previous evening.
It was third last lamb into the salesring from the entry of 165 ewes and rams on Saturday evening, when only a scatter of the earlier attendance were still occupying the ringside seats.
"Its unbelievable," said part-time sheep farmer Philip of Limepark House, Windgap, marvelling at the turn of fortune for his first-born lamb from the initial three ewes purchased from the flock of Susan O'Keeffe at Mallow two years ago to become the foundation of his flock of five ewes.
"It'll pay for the erection of a shed for them," he added after the ram lamb, bred by the 20,000gns sire Cairness Achievement was sold to Jim Douglas by auctioneer Myles Lambert after a frenzy of lively bidding for the only lamb from his flock at the sale.
Second highest price was paid to Gerry Killilea, Cregcarragh, Claregalway, Co Galway for his Reserve Overall Champion of the Show, and Reserve Ram Lamb, sold for €2,800.
Gerry also received the highest price for a ewe lamb when his Female Champion of Show sold for €950.
The Supreme Championship was awarded to Susan O'Keeffe's Male Champion of Show from her flock at Annakisha House, winner of the Open Ram Lamb Class.
Susan added rosettes in the best group of three and the recorded class.
Breeders travelled from as far afield as Donegal to Cork for the opening show and sale of Suffolks for the season.
There was a good standard of entries, challenging show judge Allister Gault of the Forkins Flock at Newtownabbey in awarding the top rosettes.
There was a 30pc clearance of ewes at an average of €526 and 70 rams sold for an average of €941, while the average excluding the price topper was just shy of €800.
Meanwhile, the annual Borris Ewe Breeders Show, celebrating its 54th anniversary, will showcase the Borris Ewe, a cross between the Cheviot ewe and Suffolk ram, when the event takes place this Thursday, August 10 at the local Borris mart.
There will be around 1,500 hogget ewes and 800 ewe lambs on offer, with the ewe lambs sale starting at 10.30 and hogget ewes starting at 12.30.
Single Shearling ewe 1. Michael and James O'Connell, Doora, Ennis. 2. Matthew Pearse, Cappakee, O'Briens Bridge, Co Clare
3. Robert Walker, Manister, Croom.
1. Gerry Killilea, Cregcarragh, Claregalway. 2. Philip Lynch, Seabank, Castlebellingham. 3. Michael and James O'Connell, Doora, Ennis
Ram lamb sired by SOI-bred ram
1. William J and R Wilson, Raphoe, Lifford. 2. Arthur O'Keeffe, Kilavullen, Mallow. 3. Patrick O'Keeffe, Annakisha House, Mallow.
1. Arthur O'Keeffe. 2. Susan O'Keeffe, Annakisha House. 3. Philip Lynch.
Novice Ram Lamb
1. Lexie and Alan Kilpatrick, Beechwood Park, Convoy. 2. Philip Byrne, Limepark House, Windgap. 3. Brian Boland, Ballypatrick, Clonmel
Open Ram Lamb
1. Susan O'Keeffe. 2. Gerry Killilea
3. Lexie and Alan Kilpatrick.
Group of three ram lambs
1. Andrew and Jonathan Lucas