Watch: Irish national sheep dog trials
The Irish national sheep dog trials took place recently at Bridge Meadow Bunclody, Co Wexford.
The three-day event selected 15 of the top dogs in the country. Which will represent Ireland in the International sheep dog trials which will be held near the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire in early September.
Over the three days, 150 sheep dogs from all around the Island north and south and the Isle of Man came to Bunclody to compete. Each day 50 trials took place and out of those the top five dogs on the day are selected for the Irish team.
On the last day the number one from the three days go head to head to be crowned Irish National Champion and he or she intern captains the team in the International.
The singles judges this year for the Irish trials where Barra O’Brian from Athlone and Thomas Doherty from Ballybofey. The doubles judges or the “Brace” where a Brain Casey from Co. Tipperary and Seamus Gallagher from Ballmena.
The teams that take part in the international trails are England, Scotland, Wales and the Island of Ireland and the Isle of Man make up the Irish team.
All handlers start with 110 points and gain points for every part of the cores completed correctly. At some stage during the day the judges introduce a “Standard”. Where if the dog has lost so many points that there is no way it could make it into the top 5 on that day the run ends for that handler no matter what stage he is at.
These trials are not just about winning the Irish national. While the different runs are going on spectators are watching to see how the animal performs, thinking of maybe breeding their own animals to that dog. A lot of the dogs go for stud during and after their career so the trails are so much more to good dog handlers and some have been known to make a living from it.