The West of Ireland Registered Pedigree Suffolk Sheep Breeders Club held its second annual western stars sale in Athenry on Friday 3 November.

While it couldn’t quite match the success of its inaugural sale which saw a remarkable 98% clearance rate of all sheep, this year’s event drew a strong crowd and the trade was brisk for the high-quality sheep on offer.

This year's sale featured an expanded collection of lots which offered buyers a wide range of top-quality breeding options to choose from. The sale included 40 pedigree Suffolk in-lamb gimmers, six recipients carrying embryos and 20 ewe lambs.

Bidding was brisk from the outset, with buyers keen to bag themselves some excellent bloodlines.

Top price

Claiming the top price of the night of €1,420 was Kenneth Bailey’s Lismurtagh Flock. He had a very stylish gimmer that was sired by Cairness Our Bucks out of a Parish Ewe, in-lamb carrying a single to Limepark Benson. This ewe was sold to the renowned Kells Flock.

The second-highest price of the night of €1,400 was fetched for Howgillfoot Batman, a daughter from Kevin and Mattie Kelly’s Summerhill flock.

She was a maternal sister to the top-priced lamb at the 2022 sale, which achieved a price of €2,000.

This strong price was swiftly followed by a gimmer from the Ballygarris Flock of Michael and Marie Jennings that achieved €1,020.

Carrying one lamb to Enniscrone Brantson, this Strathbogie Joel-sired ewe was the lead gimmer in the Ballygarris pen. Again, this was sold to a breeder from Clare.

New pastures

The Western Suffolk Flock of Michael Hastings also achieved €1,020 for his Mullinvale Magnum-sired ewe lamb, which was a double five-star lamb going back to the Kirriemuir Flock.

This lady found pastures new with Suthe Dunfierth Flock in Co Kildare. Another ewe lamb from the Summerhill Flock was purchased at €1,000 by a well-established Suffolk breeder in the west.

The recipient trade was also strong, with six lots on offer from the Enniscrone, Cornboy and Lisakillen flocks.

The top price of €680 was achieved for two lots. The first was from the Enniscrone Flock of Ronan Gallagher and was sired by Shannagh Top Gun II out of a Kilmacoo ewe, with the second lot from the Lisakillen Flock of John Oakman sired by Errigal Enzo out of a Lisakillen ewe.

Other leading prices of €980, €960 and €920 on the night went to the Western, Windfield and Ballygarris Flocks respectively.

A representative from the West of Ireland Registered Pedigree Suffolk Sheep Breeders Club commented: “The club extends its gratitude to everyone who supported them for the sale, particularly the buyers and under-bidders.

"Special thanks goes to Mayo Healthcare for once again generously sponsoring the sale and also the mart staff for their professionalism at the sale.”