THE Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders’ Club is looking forward to another good year for the breed in 2020, having enjoyed a successful 2019.
The highlights of the year were outlined by outgoing Chairman Mark Latimer at the Irish Club AGM, which was held at Quinn’s Corner, Dungannon.
Taking over from Mark as Chairman is Eddie O’Neill from Glenarm and newly elected Vice-Chairman is Patrick Brolly from Claudy.
Kenny Preston, Omagh, continues as Club Secretary with Gary Scott, Omagh, as Treasurer, and they will serve on the Club Committee along with Eddie O’Neill, Glenarm, Patrick Brolly, Claudy, Mark Latimer, Bessbrook, John Harbinson, Limavady, Hugh O’Neill, Glenarm, Wade McCrabbe, Donegal, Elizabeth McAllister, Kells, and Daniel Patton, Newtownards.
Prior to the election of officers the evening got underway with a slide show presentation on grass seed and grazing by Damian McAllister of DLF Seeds.
As well as planning for the year ahead the meeting also reflected on a successful 2019.
The club started with the annual in-lamb sale just before Christmas with the judge for the event, Francis Lyons, travelling from County Galway.
Francis found his champion from Matthew Burleigh’s Matt’s Flock, a shearling ewe, Matt’s Caroline, and the reserve from A Murray & Son’s Ravara Flock, an aged ewe, Ravara Bressi ET. The Champion sold for 1,750gns and the Reserve Champion for 820gns.
The next show event was Balmoral and this year’s judge was Paul Tippets of the well-known Hackney Flock. Paul found his champion in the gimmer class, Bodoney Dynamite ET, from Andrew and Jamie McCutcheon’s Bodoney Flock, Trillick.
Reserve champion also came from the gimmer class, Artnagullion Drizello ET, from the Artnagullion Flock of Elizabeth McAllister. Artnagullion also lifted the male champion title. Reserve male went to the Glenkeen Flock, which also won the aged ram, shearling ram and ewe lamb classes.
Mark Latimer congratulated the Bodoney Flock on its first Balmoral Champion and thanked all exhibitors who took part in the prestigious show event.
This year the club open evening was held on the Preston family farm in Omagh.
A great day was had by all with a trimming demonstration given by John Barclay from Ayrshire and a butchery demonstration by local butchers William Wilson and Martin Callan. This was followed by a fantastic barbecue and a ‘Night at the Races’ and a charity auction, with the proceeds going to the NI Children’s Hospice and Care for Cancer.
A total of £5,000 was raised and split equally between the two charities. Cheque presentations took place at the AGM.
On behalf of the Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders’ Club Mark Latimer thanked the Preston family for hosting the Open Evening.
The club had its usual stand at the NSA event in Ballymena.
“The stand was very busy all day and a huge thanks must go to Hugh and Eddie O’Neill and John and Melissa Harbinson for all the hard work in getting it set up,” said Mark Latimer.
The National Show this year was again held in Omagh and was judged by Andrew Dunlop from A & M Dunlop, Broughton Flock, Biggar, Lanarkshire.
Andrew had a difficult task but eventually found his champion from Elizabeth McAllister’s Artnagullion Flock, a superb aged ewe, Artnagullion Bellefire ET, which later went on to scoop the Interbreed.
Reserve Champion was a shearling ewe, Glenpark Dream Girl, from the Preston family.
This year’s Premier Sale was held in Dungannon and judged by Neale McQuistin, Airyolland, Newton Stewart.
Matthew Burleigh’s shearling ram, Matt’s Don Juan, was Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion was an aged ram, Clary Blaze of Fire ET, from John Harbinson’s Glenkeen Flock, Limavady.
Female Champion was a shearling ewe, Derryharney Daffodil ET, from Lisnaskea-based Alan Burleigh, which sold for joint top price of 1,000gns.
On September 16, an evening sale in Ballymena saw Allen and Vicky McFadden from Banbridge take champion with a shearling ram, Ashley Diesel and Hugh O’Neill, Reserve Champion with a shearling ewe, Lagyveagh Dazzler. Mark Latimer thanked Seamus Kelly for judging the event.
This year’s Omagh Sale, held a few days later (September 21), saw the Preston family take both champion and reserve in the show ring. Champion was Glenpark Dailie, a shearling ram, and reserve was Munreary Bingo, an aged ram.
The event was judged by Eddie O’Neill who again was thanked by the chairman.
The Flock Competition this year was judged by John and Heather Barclay from Ayrshire.
The Champion Flock went to the Small Flock winners, Wade and Alison McCrabbe from Donegal, while Reserve Champion Flock went to the Large Flock winner, Matthew Burleigh from Kinawley. Reserve Champion Small Flock went to David Brown from Bessbrook with Reserve Champion Large Flock going to Kenny Preston, Omagh.
Champion Show Flock went to Elizabeth McAllister, Kells, and Reserve to Kenny Preston, Omagh.
Best Novice Flock went to John Robinson and Hayley Mackey.
Presentation of awards took place at the Rosspark Hotel, Kells, on October 19 and a great evening was had by all who attended.
On behalf of the Irish club Mark Latimer expressed condolences to any club member who had lost a family member during 2019.
“I would also like to thank all the club’s sponsors for their support throughout the year,” he added. “It is very much appreciated.
“Here’s looking forward to another good year in 2020.”