On a day where other shows around the country had to unfortunately cancel their 2023 event, the sun shone unapologetically on the Virginia Showgrounds in Co Cavan for its 80th anniversary show.

The event also marked a special anniversary for the partnership of Baileys, Diageo and Tirlán. Now in its 40th year, the event marks one of the longest sponsorship collaborations between the three named companies.

As the sun shone down, crowds gathered around the impeccable green field that lay as a platform for the Baileys heifers and cows that were competing.

The guessing game for who would be crowned the 2023 champion began as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon TD, corporate relations director of Diageo Ireland Shane Kelly and Tirlán chair John Murphy prepared to congratulate the champions that were about to be tapped out by Co Down judge Mark Logan.

Heifers in milk

Firstly, it was the turn of the heifers in milk, where 12 heifers battled it out to be crowned the 2023 champions.

Dary, Isabelle, Ted and Rory Jones with the heifer in milk champion Jones Lambda Twizzle VG87 and Jones Knowelsmere Crushtime Patricia VG88 at the €13,000 Bailey’s all-Ireland championship sponsored by Diageo and Tirlán. \ Shanon Kinahan

Mark Logan of the Clandboyne Estate faced a difficult task as he searched along a pristine line-up before he tapped forward Gary and Isabelle Jones’ Jones Lambda Twizzle VG87 as the champion.

The January 2021-born heifer, which travelled from Co Wexford to compete, was sired by Farnear Delta Lambda and she was bred from Hallow Solomon Twizzle.

Junior cows

Next up, it was the turn of the junior cows, where quality far outweighed quantity, as five fabulous junior cows strutted their stuff around the ring.

It wasn’t long before Mark found his champion in this section, as he tapped forward Hallow Diamondback Twizzle 3 from the Hallow Holstein Herd of Philip and Linda Jones.

Andrea Rafferty leads out the junior cow champion Hallow Diamondbacks Twizzle 3 on behalf of Philip and Linda Jones of the Hallow Holstein Herd at the €13,000 Bailey’s all-Ireland dairy cow championship 2023 sponsored by Diageo and Tirlán. \ Shanon Kinahan

Philip, the owner of the cow, and his brother Gary, who owned the heifer in milk champion, stood proudly with their two smashing females, which are sisters, bred just one year apart from the same dam, Hallow Solomon Twizzle EX91.

Senior cows

On to the senior cows and it was the turn of 13 of the finest Holstein Friesian cows in the country to battle it out.

Unlike the other sections, there was no senior champion crowned in this year's competition.

Mark Logan took the time to judge the senior cows before the heifers, junior cows and senior cows were combined for the Diageo Baileys and Tirlán overall championship.

Finally, Mark had to make his last decision of the day as he narrowed the 30 faultless females down to just 10.

With the final 10 standing, Logan again narrowed his choice down to four, where he found his champion, reserve champion and honourable mention.

Overall champion

The overall championship title for the 40th anniversary Baileys dairy cow championship title sponsored by Tirlán and Diageo was won by the Annaghmore Holsteins Herd of C and J Richardson.

Their April 2017-born cow Lumville M Danoise is sired by Mountfield SSI DCY Mogul and is bred from Lumville E Danoise VG87.

Danoise was bred by Richard Whelan from Co Westmeath and was purchased by the Annaghmore Holstein Herd at Richard's dispersal sale.

John O'Connor with the reserve overall champion Bawnmore Pepper Almeric VG88 at the €13,000 Bailey’s champion all-Ireland dairy cow championship sponsored by Diageo and Tirlán. \ Shanon Kinahan

The reserve supreme championship spot was scooped by Bryan and John O’Connor from Co Cork with Bawnmore Pepper Almeric VG88, which is sired by Delaberge Pepper and is out of Clongowes Sid Almeric 2 EX95.

Finally, Mark had to select his honourable mention and this time he awarded the rosette to Co Down breeders Sam and John McCormick with their February 2019-born cow Hilltara Undenied Apple.

Full report to follow in next week's Irish Farmers Journal.