By Katie McKeegan
A bright sunny day with a good breeze saw a generous turnout of competitors and spectators alike at the annual Shilnavogie Amateur Sheepdog Trial.
With just under 30 dogs and handlers competing, despite very testing Cheviot ewes it was a successful event for this year’s chosen charity, Air Ambulance, with £1,100 being raised.
The overall winner was Martin Agnew from Loughdoo with his dog Mia. They put up a smooth run from start to finish to claim first prize.
Second place went to first time runner Robert Hamilton from Carnalbanagh with his dog Meg. The duo put in a good run with some difficulty at the pen but held their own to beat off the competition.
Third place went to Darren Johnston from Aughabouy with Kate and fourth place went to Katie McKeegan, Glenarm, with her dog Jess. Fifth place went to a young first time runner, Michael McGarel, Carnlough, with his dog Kate, and sixth place was Danny O’Boyle from Waterfoot with Nell.
Outside of the overall winners there were several coveted trophies that went to well deserving winners. Katie McKeegan with her dog Jess took home the Best Lady Competitor and the Artie McNeill Memorial Cup for Best Drive, Shed and Pen.
Danny O’Boyle with a second dog, Jan, took home the Alex Davison Memorial Cup for Best Outrun, Lift and Fetch. The Best Young Handler took home the Jack McNeill Memorial Cup and this year it went to Michael McGarel and Meg.
This year the committee introduced a memorial cup in remembrance of esteemed past committee member Sam Wallace from Shilnavogie. The Sam Wallace Memorial Cup for the Best Pen outside of the winners went to Robin McNinch from Larne running his dog Jess.
Judge for the trial was Shaw Beggs from Ballyclare, assisted by Gordon Montgomery from Broughshane, who was in charge of the timekeeping. Entry clerk was a joint effort from Robert Hamilton and James Davison. Land and sheep were supplied by John Davison.
A generous supply of tea, coffee and refreshments was provided for all, along with handmade Shepherd Sticks for a small donation to the chosen charity.
The organisers would like to thank the sponsors, volunteers and all those who gave so generously and for the continued support they have received for the trial over the years.