The Irish Hereford Breed Society was one of the first out of the traps when holding its national championships at the weekend at Annaharvey Equestrian Centre in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The event was a fully ticketed event to comply with COVID-19 regulations and it went off glitch-free, with both exhibitors and spectators very happy with the event.
The judge for the day was Robin Irvine, who, alongside his wife Edith, runs the Graceland Hereford Herd in Co Armagh.
Graceland Herefords were established in 1983 and the herd prefix features regularly in genetics, both north and south of the border. With over 100 entries, it was a difficult job to pick the winners, with some very close classes.
It was a memorable day for Tom and Paddy Hickey, who made the 600km round trip from Ballydehob in Co Cork to Tullamore with their senior bull Free Town Peerless. It proved a worthwhile journey, with Peerless taking the supreme championship.
Imported from the UK by the Hickeys, the May 2017-born bull is sired by Mara Humourous and out of Free Town Benign.
Peerless had previously scooped the male championship in a strong lineup of male animals.
Standing reserve to Peerless in the male championship was Rockbrook 1 Drover from Alan Gibbons, Strokestown, Co Roscommon. This March 2020-born smart young bull took first in the spring 2020-born bull class and is by Solpoll 1 Handsome and out of Rockbrook 1 May.
In the female section, a young heifer caught the eye of many spectators and exhibitors, and she was also the pick of the judge.
Bred by Raymond Vere Hunt and Veronica Brennan from Cashel, Co Tipperary, this November 2020-born heifer was sired by Dendor 1 Kohinoor PP and out of a cow purchased from the Goulding family in Kerry, Gouldingpoll 1 Lucy 641.
She stood first in a very strong class of autumn 2020-born heifers and went on to claim the overall female championship and then took the reserve overall supreme championship.
Irvine described her as a heifer with real class, with a very big future ahead of her.
In the senior cow class, Tom and Anslem Fitzgerald took home the red rosette for their cow Griananpoll 1 Orange M661. This 2013 born-cow is by Dorepoll 1 93N and out of Grianan Orange H494.
In the junior cow class, Wexford breeder John Jones was tapped out for first. His 2019-born cow Airhill Rufus is by Trillick Paul and out of Airhill Kobo.
Tommy and Maura Cregan from Broadford, Co Limerick, took the red rosette in the autumn 2019-born heifer class with Coisceim Missy, a July 2019-born heifer by Coisceim King.
Roscommon breeder John Boyd won the spring 2020-born heifer class with his May 2020-born heifer Laphoil Joy by Kilsunny Goliath.
The Fizgerald family from Moate were at the top of the line again in the July/August 2020-born heifer class. Their August 2020-born heifer by Grianan Orange V911 went home with the red rosette out of a strong class of nine heifers.
She was later tapped out as reserve female champion in the overall championship.
In the youngest heifer class, Cork breeder Michael O’Keefe came up trumps with his young heifer Drominarigle 1 Grace 945. This January 2021-sired heifer is by Panmure 1 Henry and out of Drominarigle 1 Sydney 611.
Local breeder Hugh Murray took the red rosette in the July/August 2020-born bull class with the August 2020-born Newland Denzel. Denzel is by Smithson Darby and out of Newland Val.
The Murray family also took home first place in the September-November 2020-born class with their November 2020-born bull Newland Dale by Blackwater Lad.
The Murrays went on to take first and second places in the national bull of the year class with Newland Denzel and Newland Dale.
In the youngest bull class, it was Longford breeders Edwin and Robert Jones who took pole position with their December 2020-born calf by Keenagh L-Jay.
In the hotly contested young handler class, Jack O’Connor from Co Limerick took first place in the junior class, while Wexford man Niall Jones took first place in the senior handler class.
The next big day out for Hereford cattle enthusiasts is Saturday 16 October where the Irish Hereford Breed Society will hold its annual autumn premier show and sale in Tullamore Mart, Co Offaly.