On Saturday 11 March, the Northern Ireland Limousin Cattle Club held its annual Rising Stars calf show in Dungannon Farmers Mart.

The show highlights the best of the upcoming competition within the Limousin breed in Northern Ireland for both pedigree and commercial cattle and for the future generation, the young handlers.

The 2023 supreme championship was secured by the father and son duo of Keith and Niall Forsythe with their calf Johnstown Toffee.

Toffee, an eight-month-old heifer bought privately in December from Chris Johnston, Fivemiletown, was sired by the Swarland Eddie son Jalex Its All Good, which was the reserve junior interbreed champion at Balmoral Show in May 2014.

Niall Forsythe with Johnstown Toffee, an eight-month-old heifer that won the overall junior championship, the overall pedigree championship and the overall champion of the show at the Rising Stars calf spectacular. / Kathryn Shaw

Toffee was previously tapped out as the overall junior champion and the pedigree champion at the Rising Stars.

Following Johnstown Toffee to the top of the leaderboard was Claragh Tyson from the herd of another father and son pair John and Paul Rainey for the reserve overall championship title.

Tyson had previously secured the overall senior championship and the reserve pedigree championship title.

An 11-month-old bull, Tyson was sired by the 32,000gns Ampertaine Elgin and is out of the homebred Wilodge Vantastic daughter Claragh Lily, which was junior interbreed champion at Balmoral Show in 2016.

Reserve senior champion

The reserve senior championship was secured by the Crawford brothers with Rathkeeland Tenndresse, which was reserve overall champion at last year’s National Show in Antrim.

Sired by Westpit Omaha, this heifer was bred from the Ampertaine Elgin daughter Larkhill India.

The reserve junior championship title went to Mark McCartan with Cranmoney Tess. The eight-month-old was sired by Claddagh McCabe and dam was the Foxhill Farm Lord of the Ring daughter Cranmoney Redlady – the result of an embryo from Larkhill Grace, which was gifted as a wedding present to the McCartans.

Commercial classes

The hotly contested commercial classes were met with strong entries, with top spot being secured by Keith and Stephen Williamson by their heifer calf Esme, sired by Elite Forever Brill (TVR), which was bred from a crossbred Belgian Blue cow.

The reserve commercial championship title was scooped by James Alexander from the Jalex herd with his bull calf Bossman, a yearling bullock sired by Ballinloan Jaegerbomb out of a Belgian Blue-cross cow.

Young handlers

The young handlers event always draws a large crowd of both competitors and spectators and the classes were divided into junior and senior categories.

The senior class was open to young handlers aged between 18 and 28 years and was won by Fergal Gormley from Claudy, Co Derry.

He was followed by Adam McGookin from Larne, Co Antrim, in second place, Thomas McAreavey from Ballinderry, Co Antrim, in third and Shea Helferty from Emyvale, Co Monaghan.

The top spot in the junior young handlers was secured by Maisie Lee from Moneymore, Co Derry. Close behind in second place was Caitlin Kernan from Co Armagh.

Paul Loughran from Cookstown, Co Tyrone, followed in third place, while fourth place was secured by Conor McDonald from Co Armagh.