The Irish Texel Sheep Society held one of its largest ever sales of pedigree sheep at this year’s premier show and sale in Blessington Mart in Co Wicklow on Friday evening. It included an entry of over 100 females along with over 280 males.

Brothers James and Robbie Walker of the renowned Kilcurley flock, were handed the tough challenge of selecting the prizewinners in the pre-sale show.

Just 12 months ago, they were on the receiving end of the judge’s selections with them receiving overall champion in the sale last year to handing out top honours this year.

First up on the day was the shearling ewe class. The Monaghan-based McHugh family came up trumps in this class with a daughter of the renowned Procters Class Act. She later went on to be reserve female champion and sold for €2,500 to fellow Monaghan breeder Damien Kerr.

Greenhill Fionn MacCumhaill sold for €500 for the McHugh family, Co Monaghan.

\ MacGregor Photography

The previous sale record price of €6,500 was matched on Friday evening by the show judges, the Walker brothers. Their much admired Harestone Commander daughter had earlier in the year stood second in the national championship at the Clonmel Show. She headed to Paddy Morrissey’s flock.

Next up was a daughter of Garngour Dictator from John Neville. She was previously southeast female champion and she heads to the Uskvale Flock for €3,800. Coming up next at €3,500 was Thomas Kenny, with another Harestone Commander daughter who earlier stood second in the shearling ewe class.

She was the pick of new breeder Paul Murphy. Shearling ewes averaged €1,200 with an 80% clearance rate.

Ewe lambs

Next up was the hotly contested ewe lamb class. This time, it was the father and son duo of Pat and Barry Farrell who got the nod for their Garngour Craftsman ewe lamb.

Oberstown Forever sold for €5,000 for Pat and Barry Farrell, Co Meath. \ MacGregor Photography

She later went on to claim female champion and reserve overall champion of the show.

Later in the evening the hammer fell at €4,000 which topped the ewe lamb trade. She headed to new breeder Fintan Hackett from Co Monaghan.

Next up in the prices was Brian Divilly with his Sportsman A Star ewe lamb. She was the choice of Northern Ireland breeder Brian Hanthorn for €2,200.

Matching that money was John Kidd with a Teglium Eclipse ewe lamb who stood second earlier in day. She heads with new breeder L Walshe from Co Wexford.

Shearling rams

Texel shearling rams were in high demand this year with a clearance rate of 88% and 13 more shearling rams sold this year compared to last year.

The average selling price increased to €1,236/head. Topping the shearling trade were new breeders Irene and Iris Brazil from the Mount Prospect Flock. Their first ever ram shown in the premier sale, Efrain who is a son of Murphys Dakota, sold in a four-way split to northern buyers Duvarren, Brackney, Hillhead and Dallas flocks selling for €3,800.

Shearling ram class honours went to John Neville who came out on top with a Glenroe Bacardi son. He sold on Saturday morning to Charlie Clark, Co Monaghan, for €3,200.

Hitting €3,000 was the second-prized shearling ram from Eugene and Malachy Hand sired by Hillswood Doane. This ram was the pick of Matthew Ryan, Co Wexford.

Ram lambs

Taking top spot in the open ram class was Rodney McLaughlin’s much admired son of Sportsmans Daredevil. Bred out of a homebred ewe by Procters Cocktail, this lamb had already claimed reserve male champion at the all-Ireland in Donegal a few weeks earlier. He went one better this time taking male champion and overall champion of the day.

Not only did he leave his mark in the show ring but he also topped the sale at €13,000. It was the two way syndicate of Ronan Gallagher (Enniscrone Texels) and Jimmy Garrivan (Clew Bay Texels) whowere highest bidders.

Next up was the recorded ram lamb class. This time, it was a ram lamb from Robert and James Dunne who was the Walkers’ pick, sired by Loosebeare Chief with this lamb being snapped up by Donegal breeder Andrew Cox for €2,200.

Kilduff Fit as a Fiddle sold for €5,000 for John and James Dunne, Co Cavan. \ MacGregor Photography

Next up for the Walkers was the biggest class of the day, the novice class. This was won by new breeders, the Doherty brothers from Donegal.

James and Robbie Walker sold this Harestone Commander daughter for €6,500. \ MacGregor Photography

This was their first year breeding, and their winning streak did not end there. They later went on to claim reserve male champion. This lamb, a son on Midlock Dorito, was snapped up by Louth breeder Shay Sheridan for €4,000.

Last but not least was the Irish sired class. It was another father-and-son duo, John and Neil Kidd who were tapped out first by the Walker brothers. Their son of Thornville Elvis who himself was purchased in Blessington last year was picked up by Paul Swindell, Co Down, for €2,000.

After the sale-topping ram lamb of €13,000 next up was €5,500 from the pen of Robert James Dunne with another Loosebeare Chief son. This boy heads across the water to a syndicate of Scottish flocks Robert Laird, Neil Edmundson and Kenny Johnstone.

Next in the money again was Pat and Barry Farrell with a Rhaeadr Edge son who came to sale off the back of a successful show season after being champion in Dundalk and reserve overall at the nationals in Clonmel. This boy was the pick of Patrick and James Murphy and Padraig Varley, Mayo, for €5,000.

Also at the same money was first in the ring from the Greenhill Flock, a son of the renowned Procters Class act selling for €5,000 to Eugene and Malachy Hand.

Coming in close behind at €4,000 was a Midlock Dapper son from A and P O’Keeffe. He was the choice of Meath breeder Michael Bird.

A total of €3,800 was the top price from the flock of John and Neil Kidd. Their Teiglum Eclipse son was snapped up early in the day by Galway breeder Jack Swift.

It was then back to the Greenhill pen where they received €3,500 for a son of last year’s €10k Kilcurley Ed with this lamb’s new owner being Co Louth breeder Ellen Deery.

Last above the €3,000 mark was Brian Connelly with €3,200 for his Teiglium Cinnamon son. This one was the top choice of Donegal breeders Willie Doherty and Mark Dolan.

The sale recorded a strong clearance rate of 81% with an exceptional average of €1,226/head for ram lambs. Fifty-three ram lambs sold at €1,000 or above.