As the curtains begin to close on what was a whirlwind summer show season, many exhibitors have hung up their white coats and halters, as preparations get under way for next year’s show season.
Many shows around the country faced cancellation, as dreadful weather conditions put a halt to their 2023 plans.
Luckily, some shows have had the opportunity to reschedule for this season, with many having no choice only to look forward to 2024.
Strokestown Show in Co Roscommon held their 155th annual show last Saturday, 9 September, with a whole host of All-Ireland’s, National classes and big championships.
A massive display of Simmental, Angus, Shorthorn and Commercial cattle drew large crowds to the cattle section of the show, with both exhibitors and enthusiasts travelling the length and breadth of the country to see the stock on display.
The Commercial cattle section, which was flooded with quality entries, saw a number of very special awards being handed out to a host of deserving winners.
The Commercial Championship was judged prior to the special All-Ireland classes, and taking the plaudits was Owen and Sarah O’Neill from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, with their young and stylish black heifer.
The Reserve Championship was awarded to the Maxwell brothers Derek and Mark, from Co Roscommon, with their baby bullock.
In the All-Ireland calf classes, it was Convoy, Co Donegal breeder, Pearse McNamee, who came out on top in three out of the four classes.
Pearse took his first red rosette of the day in the ‘Bull calf under 320kg’ class and was followed in second place by Shane McGrale from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, and in third place by young Jamie Shortall from Moate, Co Westmeath, who was also victorious in the young handlers class.
In the heifer calf class for ‘Calves weighing under 300kg’, McNamee found success once again, as he was tapped out by Northern Ireland judge John Killen as the first-prize winner.
Pearse was followed in second place by the Stevenson family from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, and in third place was the Brady family from Castlerea, Co Roscommon.
In the ‘Bull calf born in 2023 and weighing over 320kg’ calf class, it was the Maxwell family who were once again to the fore. They were followed by Linda Flanagan in second, and Ronan Mulligan in third place.
A hotly contested 2023-born heifer calf class for ‘Calves weighing over 300kg’ saw the plaudits fall into the hands of McNamee also, to make it a hat trick in the ring.
Second place in this class was awarded to Kieran Killeen from Mullagh, Co Clare, and third prize went to Oldcastle, Co Meath breeder, Mark Smith.
With a fine selection of calves standing in front of judge John Killen, he selected Pearse’s calves as both Champion and Reserve, following on from what was already a very successful day and a very successful 2023 showing season for the Donegal man.
The senior All-Ireland classes were met with massive numbers of top-quality cattle at Saturday’s show, which kicked off with the All-Ireland breeding heifer class.
The championship title in this class was awarded to Sean McGreal from Westport, Co Mayo with his both powerful and stylish 22-month-old Norman Inventor sired heifer.
Second prize in this class was awarded to the father-and-daughter duo of Owen and Sarah O’Neill from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, while third prize was awarded to Nick Friel from Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
All-Ireland Beef Heifer
The Greenvale Animal Feeds All-Ireland Beef Heifer class saw top-class heifers from Cork to Donegal battle it out to be crowned this year’s champions, and John Killen had a really tough decision to make in selecting his winners in this class.
The top spot was awarded to the Stevenson family from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, with their very stylish Charolais-cross heifer, who followed on from winning the senior championship at Tullamore Show and numerous other shows this year.
Second place was awarded to another heifer that has shared great success in the show ring this summer and it was Co Cork breeder Ger Ryan’s Limousin-cross heifer that took the plaudits. Third prize in this hotly contested class was awarded to Sinead and Ciara McKeon from Ballinlee, Co Longford, with their Limousin-cross heifer.
All-Ireland Beef Bullock
The Sweeney Family All-Ireland Beef Bullock final was well supported, with just shy of 15 of the finest bullocks in the country taking to the ring to be crowned the 2023 champion.
Continuing on from a successful summer and another All-Ireland Championship title at Oldcastle Show earlier this year, it was another Charolais-cross that came out on top when John Killen found his champion in the super sweet Donegal bullock from the herd of Victor Barnett.
Second prize was awarded to another Donegal breeder, this time Ryan Greene from Culdaff, Co Donegal, while third prize headed all the way to Co Carlow, once again to the father-and-daughter duo of Owen and Sarah O’Neill.
In the Simmental ring, the show classes saw the overall Simmental Championship awarded to Cush Pronto, a yearling bull from the herd of Billy Gubbins, Kilfinane, Co Limerick, and the Reserve Championship title was awarded to Sean Larkin from Kylebrack, Co Galway, with his heifer Glanville Parada.
National Simmental Calf finals
Females in the first class of the National Simmental Calf finals, which was open to senior heifer calves, saw Northern Ireland judge Alan Burleigh award the Championship title to Raceview Picole JD Kim, from the herd of Peter and Marion O’Connell all the way from Mallow, Co Cork.
The Reserve Championship title was awarded to Rathlee Roisín from the Rathlee herd of Gerry Lenehan.
In the Junior Heifer final, the top spot was awarded to Ballycarra Rose Kandy, from the herd of Jamie Reape, while Aaron Leonard’s Fearmor Revolution took the Reserve Championship title.
The first of the National Bull Calf finals saw the Senior Championship go to Co Carlow breeder Nigel Hogan with Rathnashan Randy, while the Reserve Championship title was awarded to Kilkitt Playboy from the herd of Sean Brady.
The Junior Bull championship once again saw the Raceview Herd come out on top, as Raceview Rico Kylie Fr Bea secured the Championship title. He was followed in Reserve by Paddy and Elaine Hennelly’s Seepa Ready.
In the Shorthorn section, it was a day of dreams for the Dowd family from Creggs, Co Galway, who scooped three All-Ireland and two Reserve All-Ireland Championship titles under the eye of judge Seamus Nagle.
First up was the All-Ireland bull calf class for ‘Bulls born between 1 September and 31 December 2022’, which the Dowd family won with Creaga Uno. Reserve Champion in class went to Peter Gormley from Ballymote, Co Sligo.
In the All-Ireland bull calf class for ‘Bulls born between 1 January and 31 March 2023’, it was Peter Gormley who was tapped forward as the Champion. He was followed in Reserve Champion by Creaga Vertigo, again from the Dowd family.
In the All-Ireland bull calf class for ‘Bulls born after 1 April 2021’, it was Amelda Middleton Leonard from the Ballinlig Shorthorn herd who was tapped forward as the Champion, while Frank Whitney from Carrick-on-Shannon was tapped out in Reserve.
The All-Ireland heifer calf ‘Born between 1 September and 31 December 2022’ class saw Adrian Flatley from Kilkelly, Co Mayo being tapped out as the first female champion of the day, while Noel and Lisa Dowd continued their winning streak with Creaga Unity.
The All-Ireland class for ‘Heifer calves born between 1 January and 31 March 2023’ saw Noel and Lisa Dowd rise to the top once again with Creaga Violet, who later went on to be tapped out as the Supreme Shorthorn Champion while they were followed to the top of the line up once again by Peter Gormley.
For the All-Ireland ‘Female calf born after the 1 April’, it was John McDermott from Elphin, Co Roscommon who took the top spot, while the Reserve Championship title was awarded to Adrian Flatley.
The Irish Shorthorn Premium Beef Bull Calf Championship, which saw seven top bulls battle it out, saw the top spot go to the Dowd family with their young bull, Creaga Vertigo.
In the Reserve Championship spot in this class was Amelda Middleton Leonard of the Ballinlig herd from Moate, Co Westmeath.