Journal team out in force for busy pedigree weekend
The Irish Farmers Journal team will be covering all parts of the country for a busy weekend on the pedigree circuit.

Kickstarting a busy weekend on the pedigree scene, the Irish Angus Munster branch will be hosting the autumn premier sale in Kilmallock on Friday 9 November.

Pedigree editor Shane Murphy will be on hand, reporting on how the sale goes for the 17 heifers and 10 bulls on offer. The show kicks off at 5pm, with the sale at 6.30pm.


Further up the country, suckler and beef editor Adam Woods will be in Elphin on Friday night at Martin O’Connor’s annual sale of continental in-calf heifers.

The sale consists of 45 lots and always proves popular among farmers. This one gets going at 7pm.


Moving on to Saturday and first up is the Irish Charolais Cattle Society’s elite heifer sale in Tullamore.

This sale consists of 85 export-tested heifers. Last year's sale topped at €14,500. The pre-sale show starts at 10am, with the sale at 12.30pm; Anthony Mulligan will be present here.


Over in Roscommon Mart on the same day, the Irish Shorthorn Cattle Society hosts its premier autumn sale.

This sale stands as the pinnacle of the Shorthorn calendar, attracting some of the year’s top prices.

A total of 43 heifers and 13 bulls will be on offer for prospective buyers.


Shane Murphy will be in attendance covering the Shorthorn premier, before making his way up to Carrick-on-Shannon in the evening to cover the Irish Aberdeen Angus Association's premier sale.

This is the third year of the Angus premier. This year, it has attracted 19 bulls and 10 females.

Finally, finishing off the busy weekend, the Irish Hereford national calf show takes place in Tullamore on Sunday. This year’s event has attracted a massive 119 entries, with judging kicking off at 10am.

For all the live updates, follow FJ_Pedigree on twitter.

Record numbers attend Hereford national calf show
It was a landmark day at the Hereford national calf show which attracted record numbers to Tullamore Mart, writes Shane Murphy.

The fifth annual Hereford national calf show attracted a massive 120 entries. The annual event which takes place in GVM’s Tullamore Mart attracts the best of young Hereford stock from around the country. This year was no different, with strong classes throughout the day for judge William Smith of Oldcastle, Co Meath.

Although he now breeds pedigree Limousin cattle under the renowned Millbrook prefix, growing up it was a different story for William, with his late father John synonymous with the Hereford breed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

William’s outsider eye and short briefing following each class was a breath of fresh air and stands as an easy change for other breed societies to adapt for future events.

Senior and overall male champion Gurteragh Aristocrat for Michael O’Keeffe, with judge William Smith. \ Tricia Kennedy

Male champion

After much deliberation over his senior and junior male classes, William eventually found his male champion in the form of Gurteragh Aristocrat.

Bred and exhibited by Cork native Michael O’Keeffe, this November 2017-born bull is a son of Balleen Bonus and was described by the judge as showing “great masculinity”.

Having placed top of the November- and December-born bull class, Aristocrat claimed the senior male and supreme male titles.

Junior and overall reserve male champion Moyclare Royal for Michael Molloy, with judge William Smith. \ Tricia Kennedy

Reserve male

Reserve supreme male honours went the way of Michael Molloy and Moyclare Royal. This March 2018-born bull is sired by Free Town Nadel, while the dam is homebred Moyclare Rose.

This young bull came out on top of a strong class before being awarded the junior male championship and reserve supreme championship.

Senior and reserve overall female champion Corlismorepoll 1 Sydney for the McKiernan family, with judge William Smith. \ Tricia Kennedy

Female champion

In the female championship, all top honours went the way of Kye Holly 818. This stylish January 2018 heifer, bred by Padraig and Catherine McGrath, caught more than the judge’s eye, being secured by spectator Tommy Staunton before entering for the female championship.

Tommy is a well-known breeder in Shorthorn circles, holding some of the best sales the breed has seen over the past few years. Holly will now join his Caramba herd as a foundation female.

Even more to Staunton’s delight was when Holly entered the ring and left with the junior and supreme female titles. Sired by Free Town Hotspur, judge William described the champion as “special” and said she would be “a good heifer in any breed”.

The McKiernan family were again out in force, securing the reserve supreme female title with Corlismorepoll 1 Sydney 941.

Reserve senior female champion Ardmulchan Clover 776 for Phil and Catherine Smyth. \ Tricia Kennedy

The senior female champion is a daughter of Cill Cormaic Leo and has achieved much success throughout the summer show season.

The reserve senior female title was awarded to Philip Smyth for his November-born Ardmulchan Clover 776. This deep-bodied heifer is a daughter of Church Preen Galileo.

Closing off the female championships by claiming the reserve junior title was Glosterbeg Dave from Davina Lewis. The judge described this May-born heifer calf as having a big future and said it was only age against her on the day.

The reserve senior male championship and people’s choice award went the way of Tom and Anselm Fitzgerald.

Their September 2017-born bull Grianan Showman was homebred on both sides and stood behind the eventual overall male champion.

Taking the reserve junior title was Glaslough Transformer from Nigel and Theola Heatrick. This April-born bull calf is sired by Ballyaville Ger and was second-prizewinner in class 12 in what was described by the judge as one of the toughest classes of the day.

Reserve junior male champion Glaslough Transformer for the Heatrick family. \ Tricia Kennedy


Class 1: young handler – junior

1 Paula McNamara; 2 Elisa Drumm; 3 John Angland.

Class 2: young handler – senior

1 David Kenny; 2 Lesley Lewis; 3 Sinead Conry.

Class 3: heifer calf born in September or October 2017

1 Sean Mc Kiernan – Corlismorepoll 1 Sydney 941, sired by Cill Cormaic Leo.

Class 4: heifer calf born in November or December 2017

1 Philip Smyth – Ardmulchan Clover 776, sired by Church Preen Galileo.

Class 5: heifer calf born in January or February 2018

1 Padraig Mc Grath – Kye Holly 818, sired by Free Town Hotspur, Kye Sorcha 3rd.

Class 6: heifer calf born in March or April 2018

1 Christine Drumm – Crowenstown Auriella Ivy, sired by Cave Hill Storm.

Class 7: heifer calf of the future – born from 1 May onwards

1 Davina Lewis – Glosterbeg Erica, sired by Glosterbeg Dave.

Class 8: commercial Hereford-sired calf male or female not weighing over 450kg

1 Hynes Family – PJ, sired by Gageboro Morgan.

Class 9: bull calf born in September or October 2017

1 T&A Fitzgerald – Grianan Showman, sired by Grianan Parker.

Class 10: bull calf born in November or December 2017

1 Michael O’Keeffe – Gurteragh Aristocrat 758, sired by Balleen Bonus.

Class 11: bull calf born in January or February 2018

1 Christine Drumm – Crowenstown MacArthur, sired by Allowdale Ribstone 436 ET.

Class 12: bull calf born in March or April 2018

1 Michael Molloy – Moyclare Royal, sired by Free Town Nadel.

Class 13: bull calf of the future – born from 1 May onwards

1 John Neenan and Tommy Creegan – Tullaha Carter, sired by Clondrina 1069th.

Clearance rate hit at Shorthorn premier
The difficult trade being witnessed at some pedigree sales this autumn was mirrored at the Shorthorn premier last weekend, writes Shane Murphy.

The Irish Shorthorn Cattle Society held its premier sale in Roscommon on Saturday, with a tough trade across bulls and heifers. While males are generally hard sold, this year heifers also saw a reduction in clearance.

In total, 58% of females were sold at an average of €2,050, back nearly €100 on the year. Males saw a big increase in sale price, settling at €2,233. However, only six of the 16 put forward sold.

This drop in clearance was largely down to a reduction in Northern Irish interest, with only seven heading north, compared with 20 at the previous year’s sale.

The sale was topped by Creaga Niki from Noel and Lisa Dowd, Creggs, Co Roscommon. This young April 2017-born heifer is homebred on both sides, with her sire Creaga Kenko and the dam Winalot Rodney daughter Creaga Eden. This one was secured by UK bidder Andrea Brona for €4,000.

Second top-priced animal Rockville Cherry 414, which sold for €3,700.

Next best with a bid of €3,700 was Rockville Cherry 414 from Anthony Dockery, Elphin, Co Roscommon. This five-star heifer is sired by Fanore Leader, while the dam is a homebred Bushypark Enda daughter. Five stars on the replacement index, the yearling heifer was knocked down to Tommy Staunton.

This topped a successful day for the Rockville outfit, which also sold the top-priced bull Rockville Richie 405 at €3,050. Born April 2017, Richie is a son of Sprys Patents Ace, while the dam is again out of the aforementioned Bushypark Enda. Securing the roan bull was Ann Marshall.

Overall female champion Glann Rosie exhibited by Adrian Flatley.

Female championship

Securing the female championship was Glann Rosie from the Flatley brothers, Kilkelly, Co Mayo.

Sired by Lismacool Jerome, this stylish January 2018-born heifer comes with a proven track record, having placed first in the all-Ireland intermediate heifer calf championship in September. Four stars on the replacement index, she was knocked down to Bobby O’Connell at a price of €3,500.

Standing reserve in the female championship was Graigue Willow 17th from Alan Gibbons, Strokestown.

Originally bred by John Cronin, this Moygara Exile daughter came out on top of an exceptionally strong maiden heifer class before being tapped forward as reserve champion by judge Pat Sheedy.

Carrying three stars on the replacement index, top bidder at €2,950 was local Roscommon breeder Eamon McCormack.

Champion male Ricketstown Logan, exhibited by Martin Kelly. \ Frances Browne

In the male championship, Mr Sheedy awarded the overall title to Martin Kelly’s Ricketstown Logan. This five-star terminal roan bull is sired by UK bull Fearn Capercallie, while the dam is a daughter of the £10,000 Podehole Fenman. Having failed to meet his reserve, Logan left the ring unsold.

Reserve male championship honours went the way of Gillaroo Leo from Robert Emmett McNulty. This April 2017-born son of Mohill Jack was secured by a Northern Ireland breeder for €2,000.

Flying trade at elite Charolais heifer sale in Tullamore
Adam Woods reports from Saturday's elite pedigree Charolais heifer sale held in GVM Mart Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Last Saturday’s elite pedigree sale for the Irish Charolais Cattle Society was the second time the society has run a special sale for elite heifers and the strategy seems to be working.

Commenting on the reasoning behind the separate sale, breed secretary Nevan McKiernan said: “We felt the heifers weren’t getting fair play at the Christmas Cracker sale and we knew there were plenty of top-quality heifers out there to have a sale on their own.”

McKiernan added: “By keeping the standard of quality very high and pre-inspecting animals, it has meant purchasers can be assured of top-quality animals with no faults.”

Saturday’s sale certainly didn’t disappoint, with a top call of €7,500 going to John and James Dunne, Belturbet, Co Cavan, for their October 2017-born heifer Kilduff Nikita ET, bred by CF52 and out of a Meillard cow. Nikita has a two-star replacement index of €20 and a terminal index of €169. She had been selected as the day’s reserve junior champion in the morning’s pre-sale show.

After back and forth bidding, she was eventually knocked down to Northern Ireland-based breeders Nigel and Gail Matchett, Portadown, Co Armagh.

Senior champion Summervilla Niki, with Ciaran O’Donnell and judge Chris Curry. \ Tricia Kennedy

The overall senior champion came from Tony and Ciaran O’Donnell, Ballysundriven, Elphin, Co Roscommon, for their April 2017-born heifer Summervilla Nikita.

Sired by Cavelands Fenian and out of a Fury Action cow, Nikita has a four-star replacement index of €75 and a terminal index of €148.

Once again, Nigel and Gail Matchett were ready buyers and secured Nikita with a €7,000 bid. The Matchetts run the well-known Birches pedigree herd in Northern Ireland and export a large number of cattle to the UK every year.

Junior champion Tullaghan Nora ET, with Michael and Cathal Daly and judge Chris Curry. \ Tricia Kennedy

British-based judge Chris Curry tapped out Tulaghan Nova ET from Michael Daniel Daly, Wardhouse, Tullaghan, Co Leitrim, as his junior champion.

This September 2017-born heifer was by Domino and out of an Organdi cow. She has a three-star replacement index of €50 and a terminal index of €169.

She knocked down at €6,800 to the Clare-based breeder Gerry Lynch for his Knockmoyle pedigree Charolais herd in Co Clare.

John O’Grady from Glenamaddy, Co Galway, realised €5,100 for the final of the championship lots, selling the reserve senior champion for €5,100. Glenree Matilda ET is an August 2016-born heifer, which is French-bred on both sides.

Sired by Royal Excellent and out of dam Royal Adeline, Matilda was knocked down to Damian Maher, Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

Well-known breeder Gerry O’Keeffe saw his top lot Grangewood North knocked down for €4,700.

This April 2017-born heifer is a daughter of the popular Pirate, while the dam’s sire is the proven Texan Gie. North lived up to her name and headed North with Clare Ferris to Co Down.

Ciaran Daly from Co Leitrim sold his Tawny Mermaid for €4,500. Mermaid’s pedigree is the matching of the much in demand Pirate crossed with Doonally New.

This one will now join Matthew Doonaun in Tulla, Co Clare.

The first of three lots to hit the €4,000 mark was Elphin breeder Gerard Beirne’s Tullyloyd Nora. This January 2017-born daughter of Cavelands Fenian sold with five stars on both the terminal and replacement indices. Matching Nora at the money was Fieldview Natalie from David Erskine, Co Monaghan.

Sired by the homebred Fieldview Jethro, the stylish 19-month-old daughter was secured by Kevin Mc Grath from Boyle, Co Roscommon.

Reserve senior champion Glenree Matilda ET for John O’Grady. \ Tricia Kennedy

Last to hit the €4,000 mark was the first-prizewinner Limkiln Nicole ET from Richard Hackett, Co Clare.

Sired by Panama, this one goes back on a Plexus-bred dam and again ticked all the boxes for the aforementioned purchasers Nigel and Gail Matchett.

Overall, the sale will be hailed by the society as a great success. In a very difficult climate, where the majority of pedigree sales are seeing massive falls in clearance rates, the elite Charolais sale held its own, with 75% of the heifers on offer finding new homes.

While the average was back by €500 on the inaugural sale, that particular sale was of a very high standard, with a few exceptional prices helping to lift the overall average.

Charolais breeders can look upon it very favourably, with the breed witnessing a good resurgence over the past 12 months.