World-class shearers from across the globe are set to descend on Castlepollard, Westmeath this weekend for the All-Ireland and All Nations Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships.
The event, which takes place in Tullynally Castle on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June and is hosted by Townspark Vintage Club, will see more than 120 shearers compete in 19 different shearing classes spanning across national and international competitions and in doing so shear in the region of 2,500 sheep.
Donegal native and eight-time All-Ireland Open shearing champion Ivan Scott heads up Irish hopes in the All Nations competition.
He will be joined by local rival Jack Robinson from Claudy, Derry, who in 2015 broke Scott’s dominance in the All-Ireland Open competition.
An added perk in this year’s competitions is a place on the team to represent Ireland in the Golden Shears World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand, from 9 to 11 February 2017.
The two men will have to be at their best to defeat an all-star lineup competing in the All Nations Championships. Gavin Mutch, reigning Golden Shears champion (New Zealand title), will compete in the All Nations championships and also join Hamish Mitchell to form the Scottish team for the international teams events. Meanwhile Jack Fagan, son of legendary shearer David Fagan who holds 640 Open final wins, is travelling from New Zealand while Welsh shearing star Gareth Daniels will also fancy his chances.
In addition to shearing and wool handling, there are numerous attractions including viewing the gardens and grounds at Tullynally Castle, a food and craft village, pedigree sheep display, sheep dog demonstrations, large vintage display from Townspark Vintage Club, pet and dog shows, fashion shows and night-time entertainment.
Stay connected to www.farmersjournal.ie and the Irish Farmers Journal news app for results and pictures from the competition this weekend!