Tom Perry from Strabane, Co Tyrone, sheared his way into the record books on Saturday, when he dealt with a remarkable 858 lambs in nine hours.
He smashed the previous Irish record of 708 lambs, which was set by Fermanagh man Stanley Allingham in 2019.
Perry’s tally equates to one lamb sheared every 37.8 seconds and is just 14 lambs short of the current world record.
The event, which was held in Templepatrick, Co Antrim, consisted of five “runs”, where the first started at 5am and the last finished at 5pm.
“It wasn’t until around lunch that I really got into the rhythm of it. When I sheared 176 [lambs in one hour 45 minutes], I knew I was on form,” Perry told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“I consumed a lot of caffeine near the end to keep me alert. My body was very, very sore on the last run. It was probably adrenaline that carried me through to the end,” he said.
Perry started shearing sheep when he was 16 years old, and as well as shearing professionally at home, he went abroad to New Zealand and Australia to shear in the off-season for 10 years.
The 33-year-old began preparing for his record attempt last August when he started training at a Crossfit gym in Strabane.
When shearing started again this summer, Perry switched to early morning gym sessions so he would get up at 5am to train before heading off to shear for the rest of the day.
“Eating healthy was important too. I was meal-prepping to increase protein and carbs in my diet. It meant I was putting the fuel in and not losing weight or going into the record attempt drained,” Perry said.
He expressed his thanks to the team that helped organise the event and supported him throughout his training. Money was also raised for Rural Support at the event.
With the world record so close, are there any plans for another go at a nine-hour lamb shear?
Perry laughs, says he wants to concentrate on his home farm, plus his girlfriend, Niamh, wouldn’t want to go through it all again.
“Although, who knows what will happen?” he adds.