Although it mightn’t appear to be true with flooded fields and cattle still housed in all corners of the country, April is upon us and we are well and truly into the thick of the spring sale season.

The Irish Limousin Cattle Society (ILCS) kicked off its run of spring sales on Monday 1 April with its premier show and sale of bulls in Central Auctions Roscrea with auctioneer George Candler, who has become synonymous with the Limousin breed in recent years, singing from the rostrum once again.

Melanie Alford from the UK-based Foxhill Farm Limousin herd shared her expertise in the show ring as she took on the difficult task of judging a number of hotly contested classes on the morning.

After what was a hugely successful autumn premier in the same location last October where they achieved a 87% clearance rate and a sale average of €5,144, this sale exceeded all expectations making it one of the best sales on record in recent years.

Star of the show

The star of the day was an impressive September 2022-born Haltcliffe Dancer son, Milbrook Terence ET from the herd of William Smith from Oldcastle, Co Meath.

Terence was bred from the impressive Milbrook Naughtyspice ET who was the supreme Limousin champion at the 2023 Balmoral Show and the bull himself continued in his mother's winning footsteps having been crowned senior champion in the pre-sale show, building on what was an impressive 2023 show season for the young bull.

Kieran Treanor with second-prizewinner Clontown Tomboy ET that sold for €8,700 at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society premier sale in Roscrea. \Alfie Shaw

With bloodlines going back to Milbrook Ginger Spice, Sympa, Ampertaine Elgin, Glenrock Ventura and Wilodge Vantastic, it was no wonder that potential customers swiftly bid for this stylish bull into a massive sale-topping €17,000.

The reserve senior champion was Gerrygullinane Tycoon ET from the Ballina, Co Mayo-based herd of Gerry Walsh. Tycoon was sired by the renowned Derrygullinane Kingbull and was bred from a Plumtree Fantatsic cow. He sold for €6,200.

Paul Fahy with reserve junior champion Rutland Toby that sold for €7,200 at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society premier sale in Roscrea. \Alfie Shaw

Bertie Mannion from Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, secured the junior championship title with the youngest bull in the sale Ballyline U-10839.

The Mereside Godolphin son was bred from a Castleview Gazelle dam and boasted a replacement index of €121 and a terminal index of €143. The January-born bull sold for €6,800.

Next to take the plaudits was the Treanor family from Scotstown, Co Monaghan, with their second-prizewinner Clontown Tomboy ET.

Brian Moroney with first-prizewinner Morhan Theodore that sold for €7,000 at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society Premier sale in Roscrea. \Alfie Shaw

Their second-prizewinner was another September 2022-born bull sired by Ampertaine Elgin and he was bred from a Wilodge Vantastic dam, Claragh Oracle.

Boasting a replacement index of €124 and a terminal index of €147, this classy bull sold for the second-highest price of €8,700.

€7,200 was the price paid for the reserve junior champion that came from the herd of Noel Ruttledge from Ballina, Co Mayo.

PJ McGrath with second-prizewinner Glenford Turbo that sold for €7,000. \Alfie Shaw

Born in September 2022, Rutland Toby was sired by Ampertaine Metric and was bred from a Tomschoice Iceberg dam going back to impressive sires including Gigolo, Dartangan and Kaprico Eravelle and boasted a massive €149 replacement index and a €139 terminal index.

There were three bulls that achieved €7,000 and first up was Morhan Theodore from the herd of Brian Moroney from Quilty, Co Clare.

The April 2022-born bull secured the red rosette in the first class and was a popular choice with Plumtree Fantastic Wilodge Vantastic, Wilodge Tonka, Sympa, Bavardage and Cerberus all building his pedigree.

Fourth-prizewinner Cavelands Tom Boy from the herd of Paul Sykes that sold for €7,000 at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society premier sale in Roscrea. \Alfie Shaw

He is a full brother to Morhan Peter who stands as a herd sire in the Mariascote Limousin herd in Scotland.

The second bull to hit €7,000 was fourth-prizewinner Cavelands Tom Boy from the herd of Paul Sykes from Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.

Another Plumtree Fantastic son bred from a Bavardage cow going back to Wilodge Vantastic, Wilodge Tonka, Sympa, On-Dit and Mas Du Clo, this bull had stats to burn and was very easy calving at just 3%.

PJ Smith, Bertie, Alan and David Mannion with junior champion Ballyline U-10839 that sold for €6,800 at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society premier sale in Roscrea. \Alfie Shaw

Second-prizewinner Glenford Turbo from the Donard, Co Wicklow-based herd of Kelly Stephenson was the last of the trio that hit €7,000 at Monday’s sale.

The September 2022-born bull was sired once again by Plumtree Fantastic and this time was bred from a Sympa dam. He boasted a four-star replacement and five-star terminal index and was also very easy calving at just 2.9%.

Monday’s sale saw a super display of Limousin bulls from all over the country, which led to an impressive sale average of €5,739.

Sixty-five bulls were entered for the society’s first sale of 2024, while 45 bulls came forward on the day.

A ringside that was packed from every angle made it very difficult for auctioneer George Candler to spot the bidders among the large crowds.

However, the hammer only failed to fall for one bull, leading to a 99% clearance rate.

The ILCS is looking forward to its next sale on Thursday 18 April in Athenry Mart.