Patrick and Breda are shear class

Tadhg Evans

Waterville and Bonane, Kenmare, were top of the Irish sheep-shearing scene in recent weeks as Patrick Moran (Waterville) and Breda Lynch (Bonane) both returned to the peak of their fields after long absences.

In Patrick's case, he was the winner of the blade-shearing competition in Cashel, winning the title for the first time in 19 years, having had many near-misses along the way. The sheep farmer last won the title in Kilkenny, and he made it through the 24-member opening round, the 12-member semi-final, and the six-member final before ending his famine in the competition.

"It was great to win it," he said. "The judges were looking for a nice, clean finish on the sheep. Rough shearing would have been no good.

"I don't do a lot of blade shearing anymore, mainly machine shearing, so it was great going for me to win."

 It was Breda's first time shearing at the event in a few years. Once a dominant force, she won nine All-Irelands in a row at one point, and such has been her success that she isn't sure herself of just how many times she's won All-Ireland titles.

"I definitely have 12, but it could be 14," she said.

"I didn't get a trophy every year I won, you see, so I'm not actually definite how many I've won.

"I won the All-Ireland Ladies championship on Sunday with the electric shears, and I went up as a spectator - but a few people convinced me to take part.

"I've been ill for a few years, and at one point I thought I'd never compete again. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.

"I also got a certificate for 'Outstanding Service to the Sheep-Shearing Industry. I was delighted enough to get that, but to win the championship as well, I was overwhelmed.

"I love shearing. It is the one thing I've always enjoyed."

Her son, Dennis O'Sullivan, also did well, finishing fifth in the All-Ireland Open competition, and he will be in France for the upcoming World Championships. Breda herself hopes to be there, albeit as a spectator on this occasion.

Patrick narrowly missed out by one place in the qualifying stage of the championships.