The Carrick-on-Shannon Winter Fair is the conclusion of the commercial show scene for the year, and as usual, it produced some tremendous prices for the cattle that were on show throughout the summer season.
The trade remained steady from start to finish with the highest-priced animal in the sale coming after over 16 hours of non-stop selling.
Selling at €14,500 was junior Belgian Blue champion Miss Moneypenny from the herd of Chris Meehan, Charlestown, Co Mayo. This May 2022-born calf caught the eye of many spectators on Sunday evening at the pre-sale show.
Moneypenny is sired by BYU and is bred from the same cow as Meehan’s 2019 sale-topping calf which sold for €10,000.
Speaking on his success, Chris told the Irish Farmers Journal “to breed the top priced animal in Carrick once is amazing, but to do it twice is a dream come true”.
Not far behind was Pearse McNamee’s Junior Limousin champion who impressed spectators around the Limousin ring and further afield.
The junior Limousin champion from Convoy, Donegal, has had a successful showing career securing titles as prestigious as first prizes at the FBD Tullamore National Livestock Show, Clonmany Show and Moate Show where she was also reserve supreme champion and what a lineage she has with Elgin, Empire, CF52 and EPI in her sire stack.
Her mother was calf champion in Tullamore, Limerick and Virginia in 2012, champion beef animal of the future in Tullamore in 2013, all-Ireland baby beef champion in Limerick and supreme champion in Mohill in both 2012 and 2013. She was senior Belgian Blue champion at the Commercial Cattle Winter Fair and the Carrick-on-Shannon Winter Fair in 2013. Her granddam was purchased by Pearse as the champion calf at the 2007 Winter Fair for €10,000.
Cian McGloin, Kinlough, Co Leitrim, brought a rare offering to the table when he brought forward two full sisters of equally exceptional quality to the sales ring.
The sisters are sired by British Blue bull Solway View Dynamite out of an Empire cow and were all-Ireland interbreed pairs champions at Oldcastle Show earlier this year, as well as winning several commercial championships between them.
The pair were placed first and second in their class at the pre-sale show on Saturday with the first prizewinning heifer also securing the reserve junior Belgian Blue championship before going on to sell for €12,200.
Her second prizewinning sister followed her over the €10,000 mark, securing a massive €11,400.
Holding the top price in the sale of €9,100 for a number of hours was Eamon and Aidan O’Donovan with their Ballinloan Jaegerbomb-sired heifer, Armani. This September 2021-born heifer is bred from a pedigree Belgian Blue cow and secured the senior Limousin championship for the Limerick men.
Jaegerbomb was the sire behind some more of the top price lots with Luke, Clive and Victor Barnett, Co Donegal, seeing the hammer fall at €9,000 for their March 2022-born first prizewinner by the known show calf producer.
Limerick show man Shane Giltinane put forward some show-winning genetics in the Belgian Blue-cross heifer under 450kg class. His Hazard-sired heifer, coming from an Ashleigh Admiral cow, is a sister to two Tullamore Show champions (2022 and 2018). She later sold for €8,200.
Gene McCann from Julianstown, Co Meath, saw his former all-Ireland winning show heifer Penny produce the goods at the Winter Fair. A Belgian Blue daughter of hers was put forward late in the sale, with the buyer not shirking at the late hour of sale. The hammer fell at €7,500 for the James Bond-sired calf, with her half-sister, this time-sired by Culard Charolais Lanzac, selling for €5,400 earlier in the day.
Kieran and Martin Killeen, Mullagh, Co Clare, had their double all-Ireland winning Charolais heifer calf at the Winter Fair. Sired by Anside Foreman from an Elite Forever Brill dam, with CF52 in her back breeding, the Banner men’s heifer sold for €7,100.
Jonathan McGowan and family, Co Mayo, saw their reserve junior Limousin champion sell at €7,000. The sweet red Limousin stood second to the champion in her class, later scooping the reserve prize. She is sired by Dovea Genetic’s Claddagh McCabe.
Charolais junior champion went to well-known show men, Clive and Victor Barnett, Co Donegal, for their golden-coloured heifer calf. She had won the under 350kg class before being tapped out by judge Martin Ryan as his junior champion. Sired by Crossmolina Euro, she went to a new home at a price of €6,800.
McNamee finished off a terrific year for the Donegal breeder and his family, selling his remaining two heifer calves for a combined €11,400. The first, a Blue-roaned heifer calf sired by the Belgian Blue bull Hazard, was knocked down by auctioneer Tom Cox for €5,600, with her stablemate, a black-and-white heifer sired by Sultan, selling for €5,800.
From start right through to the end, with 16 hours of selling between a team of four auctioneers, Francis McGowan, Tom Cox, PJ Reynolds and Eamon Gaffney, buyers competed hard to secure lots. Several well-known show men and women from across the Republic and Northern Ireland were present, as well as noted in-calf heifer producers seeking to source top-quality maiden heifers for their sales.
With a packed ringside, spectators and buyers took to the showing arena where a livestream was set up, with buyers working through online bidding. It was heartening to see the amount of young people in attendance, with several up-and-coming stock people visible bidding and securing stock for the summer shows of 2023. With record numbers of cattle in attendance, producing high-end cattle still has a proud place in Irish agriculture.