Thirty-two competitors made long journeys from West Cork, Mayo, Northern Ireland, the sunny southeast and everywhere in between, to battle it out to be crowned 2023 FBD, Irish Farmers Journal and Irish Shows Association All-Ireland young stockperson champion at Cappamore Show in Limerick last Saturday, 19 August.
Now in its third year, the competition rewards the best junior (aged eight to 12), intermediate (aged 13 to 17) and senior (aged 18 to 25) young stock people. Three experts in the field, Eimear McGovern, Richard O’Beirne and Sean Sherman, judged the three respective age categories.
The finalists had competed at qualifying shows nationwide, and the skills and knowledge displayed this year were nothing short of remarkable.
The juniors began their day with a ring craft section, where they were expected to show themselves and their calves off to the best of their ability. Judge Eimear McGovern put them through their paces, and even asked them to swap calves and lead an unfamiliar animal.
This was followed by grooming and stock judging, and finished with a talk from Eimear, going through different showing and judging techniques.
The intermediate section was judged by Galway man Richard O’Beirne, who had the added element of an interview with the finalists – which was also judged by Shanon Kinahan from the Irish Farmers Journal.
The interview put the young people through their paces, testing their knowledge in feeding, breeding and showing. They also had to take on the task of grooming, showing and stock-judging. In the senior section, Laois man Sean Sherman and Martin Merrick from the Irish Farmers Journal, put the competitors to the test, as they underwent interviews about themselves and their knowledge on feeding, breeding and animal health. The senior section also included stock-judging, grooming and showing.
Finally, after a very long day of competitions, it was time for the judges to tap forward their prize winners in each section.
Jamie Dodd from Co Down was named the junior All-Ireland young stockperson champion.
In second place, was Chloe Hegarty from Bandon, Co Cork, and she was followed by Grace O’Donovan from Dunmanway, Co Cork, in third place. Kieran Ryan from Co Cork took fourth place, while Co Clare breeder Adam Kearney scooped fifth prize.
In the intermediate section, Nigel Wood from Co Mayo was named the winner. Aine McAllister from Co Derry was a close second and in third place was Jamie Shortall from Co Westmeath. John O’Dwyer from Co Tipperary was fourth and fifth place went to Nichola Mulligan from Co Galway.
Molly Bradley from Co Armagh was named the senior All-Ireland young stockperson champion for 2023. She was followed in second place by Co Longford breeder Conor Craig. In third place was Limerick man Aidan Kinahan, followed by Fergal Gormley from Co Derry and Aine Hannan from Co Clare in fourth and fifth place.
Speaking after the event, Jim Harrison of the Irish Shows Association (ISA) told the Irish Farmers Journal: “The All-Ireland young stockperson is proving to be a class competition for all our young showing enthusiasts.
“This year’s competition was of a very high standard, with 30 young people taking part in the three age groups.
“The ISA would like to congratulate each and every young person that took part. I would like to thank Cappamore Show for hosting the finals, and FBD Insurance and the Irish Farmers Journal for their continuous support.”